Tanzanian president John Pombe Magufuli is under fire for pardoning persons convicted of raping school girls.
According to a child rights activist who heads the Community for Children’s Rights located in the country’s north, the president’s action comes across as a punishment to young children.
Kate McAlpine is quoted by the BBC Africa LIVE page as saying she was horrified but unsurprised by Magufuli’s actions. She related the incident of last weekend to the president’s unyielding stance on pregnant school girls.
Pregnant schoolgirls are pregnant because they are victims of violence. He has a blind spot when it comes to recognising children as victims.
“Pregnant schoolgirls are pregnant because they are victims of violence. He has a blind spot when it comes to recognising children as victims.
“There seems to be a punitive attitude towards young children,” McAlpine added.
Magufuli’s Independence Day pardon
While addressing hundreds of people at the country’s 56th independence anniversary, Magufuli announced a pardon of prisoners with the immediate release of 1,828 convicts while 6,329 others would have their sentences reduced.
But notable among the beneficiaries was popular musician Nguza Viking a.k.a. Babu Seya and his son Johnson who had been jailed for life after being found guilty of defiling 10 primary school girls in 2004.
Like many of Magufuli’s actions throughout his 2 years in office, this pardon was received with mixed reactions. While some Tanzanians welcome the return of the popular Rumba musician, there are sections who have taken to social media to express their dismay at the pardon of convicted rapists.
Tanzania’s president John Pombe Magufuli made the country’s independence day his own day when he cancelled the 2015 national celebrations in favour of a community clean up campaign and redirected the funds towards an anti-cholera drive that was happening in the country at the time.
Indeed since then, Tanzania’s independence day has always coincided with performance assessments of this president who is reputed as a no-nonsense, results oriented politician.
He has publicly taken on civil servants, government parastatals, politicians, the media, political opponents and mining multinational companies that were thought to be ‘too powerful to question.’