Birth Control for Tanzanians? President Says ‘No Thanks’

(Bloomberg) -- President John Magufuli said Tanzanians have no need for birth control and only those who are lazy and can’t feed their children should use contraception.

The 58-year-old leader has embarked on a nationwide anti-corruption drive and cut wasteful government spending since winning elections in 2015, but criticism of his administration is growing amid a clampdown on the media and the opposition.

In a speech to citizens in Simiyu, northern Tanzania, Magufuli said on Sunday that those encouraging birth control sometimes have “sinister motives” and that his travels to Europe had shown him that birth control can cause declining population growth and the lack of a labor force. Magufuli is married to Janeth, a former primary school teacher with whom he has three children.

“What we need to do is work hard so that when you have children, you can feed them,” Magufuli said. “Those who don’t want to work hard are the ones supporting planned parenthood.”

In 2016, soon after the state introduced free public education for primary and secondary schools, Magufuli told his compatriots to give birth to as many children as possible because educating them would no longer be expensive. Tanzania, a nation of 55 million people, has a gross domestic product of $52 billion.

“These are my thoughts,” Magufuli said. “They might not make all all happy, but I speak the truth.”

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