Magufuli pardons 3,500 prisoners as Tanzania marks union anniversary

President, John Magufuli waves to Mbeya city residents after he addressed rally meeting at Nzovwe grounds in Mbeya yesterday where he arrived from Lilongwe in Malawi on Thursday for eight days tour in the region.  PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

Dar es Salaam. Some 3,540 inmates will walk free from different prisons across the country thanks to a presidential pardon.

President John Magufuli ordered the release of prisoners yesterday as part of activities to mark the 55th anniversary of the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

While 722 prisoners were to be released yesterday, 2,808 others will remain in prison completing their jail terms, which were reduced, according to a statement signed by the permanent secretary in the ministry of Home Affairs, Major General Jacob Kingu.

“It is the government expectations that they will rejoin and cooperate with members of the society in building the nation. We also expect them to avoid committing offenses that will take them back to prisons,” reads part of the statement.

The head of state pardoned the prisoners in accordance with article 45 (1) (d) of the constitution that gives him such powers.

The beneficiaries of the pardon include those suffering from chronic diseases like HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis and cancer and that they have been medically diagnosed to be at terminal stage.

Others are prisoners above the age of 70, those with physical and mental disabilities, female prisoners convicted while pregnant and those with young children.

According to the statement, the sickness, old age, physical and mental disabilities should be proven by a team of medics led by regional or district medical officers.

The pardon is exclusive for people those who were convicted before March 15, 2019, according to the statement.

On the other hand, the notice excludes people convicted for murder attempt, suicide and infanticide, those sentenced for life imprisonment and later changed to normal sentences and convicts of drug trafficking and abuse.

“People convicted for violence, armed robbery, possession of fire arms, ammunitions and explosives will not benefit from the presidential pardon,” reads part of the notice.

The notice also says people convicted for indecent assault, rape, defilement and violence against children, prisoners who impregnated schoolgirls, convicts of car, motorcycle theft, destruction of infrastructure and those serving jail terms under parole were also ineligible for the presidential pardon,

It further adds convicts of office abuse, money laundering and economic sabotage, previous beneficiaries of presidential pardons and those convicted of preventing their children from accessing education are not among the beneficiaries of the pardon.

The list of prisoners who are ineligible for the pardon also include prisoners of children abductions, violence against children, human trafficking, poaching, theft and embezzlement of public funds.

People imprisoned for absconding legal arrest or playing a role in a crime, prisoners repeating jail terms and those found to be indisciplined in prisons will continue serving their sentences.