The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network

Children turn against own mothers, beating up the widows in series of land grabbing episodes

Violence against Women

Land and property related conflicts are taking ugly face within the Mbulu District of Manyara Region, in Northern Tanzania.

Mothers, most being widows in the precinct, have been discovered to experience serious domestic and gender violence from their own children, sometimes to deadly consequences.

Experts conducting research in the remote district report that children have been turning against their own mothers in their quest to grab land and other inherited properties following the deaths of their respective fathers.

Conflicts leading to fights and other episodes of domestic violence usually occur after the death of the men of the house leaving behind their wives and children who shortly thereafter turn into arch enemies.

“This is the challenge facing most communities in Mbulu District and other rural areas of Manyara Region,” said the Mbulu Township Social Welfare Officer, Tomic Simbeye who heads the Mama Samia Legal Aid Campaign to assist the underdogs in the rural communities.

According to Mr Simbeye, the problem arises because most people in Tanzania have no tradition of writing wills, therefore when they pass away; conflicts arise in their families.

Their children quarrel and fight against themselves as they strive grab the properties left behind.

“In a number of cases, we discovered that the children go to the extent of beating up their parents and wrestling land from their own mothers, leaving the widows out in the cold,” explained Mr Simbeye.

The Presidential, Mama Samia Legal Aid Campaign which is addressing such problems, has been able to reach out to 17 wards in Mbulu Township Council with its envoys holding audience to more than 8000 people in the precinct.

“We targeted to reach at least 1000 people per ward, but managed to reach the 8000 in total,” he said, adding that in most cases local residents were too busy with their daily tasks to attend the meetings but they planned to return again later.

Other issues discovered during the campaign mission include cases of gender violence, mass rural-urban migration among young people, girls being deserted after becoming pregnant, siblings fighting over inheritance and widows that are neglected and left to fend for themselves.

The Mama Samia Legal Aid Campaign is a three-year fact finding and problem solving mission which was launched in Dodoma last May by the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, targeting to reach out to all regions, districts and wards in the country.

After Dodoma, Manyara, Sinyanga and Simiyu the campaigns have now moved to Singida Region this November 2023. The mission addresses gender violence, gender related conflicts, marriage and inheritance.

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