Zanzibar. Today, January 12, Tanzanians mark the 55th anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution that took place in the Spice Islands in 1964.
The Zanzibar Revolution by local African revolutionaries, which took place in the Isles on January 12, 1964, resulted in the overthrow of the Sultanate of Sayyid Jamshid bin Abdullah al-Said, in power since July 1, 1963 only.
The sitting President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, was set to address the state as celebrations of the Big Day kick off.
As part of the celebrations, Dr Shein pardoned 12 prisoners. A statement issued yesterday by the secretary of the Revolutionary Council and chief state secretary, Dr Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee, noted that Dr Shein had pardoned the prisoners in accordance with the powers bestowed upon him by Article 59 of the 1984 Zanzibar Constitution.
“The remaining time in their respective jail terms has been scrapped, and the 12 people jailed in Unguja and Pemba should be officially released from today, Friday, January 11, 2019,” reads the draft statement in part.
Stressing that the pardon is part of the celebrations to mark the 55th anniversary of the Revolution, Mr Yahya Mzee explained that Dr Shein has found that there were reasons to pardon the prisoners and set them free.
Beneficiaries of the pardon from Ungunja are Mushtaki Mustafa Hashim, Ramadhan Abubakar Jabu, Bakari Khamis Juma, Maulid Kheir Suleiman, Othman Ramadhan Shija, Faiz Juma Faiz and Ali Haji Ali.
Those from Pemba are Suleiman Ali Suleiman, Ali Omar Ali, Ibrahim Mbarouk Omar, Mohamed Othman Ali and Mbarouk Ali Mbarouk.
Such presidential pardons are granted every year during the Zanzibar Revolution anniversary, and are usually directed at old age prisoners; prisoners with chronic illness; prisoners who committed minor offences and are not incorrigible; and those who have displayed good behaviour when serving their sentences.
Usually, prisoners convicted for murder, armed robbery, embezzlement of public funds, abuse of women and children, drug abuse and chronic offenders are not considered for a pardon.