Authorities in Tanzania’s northern region of Mwanza have ordered district commissioners to ensure the arrest of all pregnant schoolgirls in the region to serve as a deterrent.
Regional Commissioner John Mongella said on Monday that pregnant girls should be arraigned before a court to testify against the culprits thereby preventing other girls from engaging in sexual activities, reports local news portal The Citizen.
“There have been a tendency of pregnant schoolgirls not to mention the name of a person who impregnated them. This is a challenge when one is required to testify in court,” Mongella said during a meeting with education stakeholders.
The region’s educational officer Michael Lugola told The Citizen that their pupils underperformed in the national primary school leaving examination due to pregnancy. He said 33 pupils have dropped out of school due to teenage pregnancy this year.
The decision to arrest and force pregnant pupils to name and testify against culprits will be a breach of human rights principles.
In June, President John Magufuli upheld a controversial 2002 law that bans pregnant schoolgirls from returning to school after giving birth. He also added that men who impregnate schoolgirls should be imprisoned for 30 years.
The president is currently under another criticism for granting pardon to prisoners on Saturday including two child rapists who were sentenced to life in prison.
Congolese musician, Nguza Viking alias Babu Seya and his son Johnson Nguza alias Papii Kocha were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 after they were found guilty of raping and defiling ten primary school pupils between the ages of six and eight in 2003.
President Magufuli pardons child rapists, Nguza Viking & his son Johnson Nguza. They were sentenced to life in prison for raping ten girls in 2003 aged between six & eight years from a primary school in Dar es Salaam. pic.twitter.com/3KT5DBrNrT
— Man in Black ??????? (@69mib) December 11, 2017
There were cheers after the announcement of their release while child rights advocates questioned the decision which did not take the victims into consideration.
The director of local NGO Community for Children Rights, Kate McAlpine told the BBC she was “horrified but unsurprised”.
The government’s decision was also largely criticised by social media users.
Below are some Twitter reactions.
— Evelyn Lirri (@Elirri) December 11, 2017
Oh waoh…this is a blow to the girl child in Tanzania…of what “good ” is it to Tanzania to release rapists?
— kimberly Kimani (@kimberlyKimani1) December 10, 2017
So your solution is to release convicted rapists to save cost???. Waaohh, is this the Tanzania we are building for our kids???. Just remember, these guys were convicted in court of after the court was satisfied without reasonable doubt that they were guilty.
— Shaban Salehe (@ShabanSalehe) December 10, 2017
What does “uhuru” mean today in #Tanzania under current ruler who comes from the same ruling party ruling TZ since independence? What history made today in TZ-child rapists pardoned!! Corruption corrupts minds!
— Justice/Ubun2 (@dgtlUbun2) December 9, 2017
While everywhere in the world and in the UN there’s a big push to deal with sexual harassement and sexual abuse of women and children and to encourage victims to speak up – in #Tanzania convicted rapists and child molesters are set free and made media celebrities. Let’s discuss!
— Maria Sarungi Tsehai (@MariaSTsehai) December 9, 2017
True. Even rapists. And we have the right to question his judgement. Same President ordered pregnant girls not to go back to school after delivery. It is clear. Get raped, impregnated and get out of school. That’s the message the president send to girl child of Tanzania
— Zitto Kabwe Ruyagwa (@zittokabwe) December 9, 2017
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