Zanzibar Divorces Spike After Women Choose Right to Vote


As many as 50 women have been divorced for voting in Tanzania’s recent elections against the will of their husbands.

Mzuri Issa, coordinator of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) in Zanzibar told the Guardian that 47 divorces had been confirmed to be the result of women choosing to vote.


Rights trampled on

Issa says many women on the semi-autonomous archipelago were too scared to take part in the elections, for fear of their husbands divorcing or abandoning them. This has been the reality for almost 50 women who chose to ignore the wishes of their husbands and execute their right to vote.

“Some of the women were not allowed by their husband to vote but those who refused to see their right trampled on were either divorced or abandoned,” Issa told the press.

Other women have reportedly been left or divorced for supporting the opposite party to their husbands.

“I thought it was just normal and free in a democracy to differ in politics. But unfortunately, my husband was adamant to the end and decided to divorce me. He has even decided not to bring basic needs to our young children,” one woman told Daily Newspaper.


Political crisis

The tightly-fought Zanzibar elections descended into political crisis following calls of foul play in the voting process. The vote was promptly annulled by the election commission and the streets descended into chaos with clashes of public violence.

A resolution is yet to have been found, leaving the existing CCM party in power, despite claims from opposition party Civic United Front (CUF) that it won the election. A fresh presidential election is expected to take place in January or February 2016 to decide on a final winner.


Featured image:
flickr photo shared by Rod Waddington under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.