In Summary
  • An online petition Friday gathered more than 300 signatures calling for Magufuli to retract his statement.


Tanzania President John Magufuli said students who become pregnant should not be allowed to finish their studies after giving birth, sparking outrage from women's rights campaign groups.

"I give money for a student to study for free. And then, she gets pregnant, gives birth and after that, returns to school. No, not under my mandate," the president said Thursday while visiting Chalinze, around 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of the economic capital Dar es Salaam.

According to a report by Human Rights Watch published last week, school officials in Tanzania were conducting pregnancy tests in order to expel pregnant students, thus depriving them of their right to an education.

Magufuli hit back, saying if Tanzanians listened to western human rights organisations, "all the students in an entire class could have babies".

"In that case, what would happen? While the teacher is conducting class, they'll all leave to nurse their babies? Never under my mandate", he said.

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