Last Saturday, Tanzania President John Magufuli pardoned two child rapists, a move that came under heavy condemnation from children’s rights activists.
This is the second time in five months the President has acted in what is described by Kate McAlpine as “lack of understanding about violence against children”.
Ms Kate is the director of the Arusha-based Community for Children Rights. She told the BBC the announcement, though not surprising to her, was horrifying.
John Magufuli made the pardon on Saturday as he relayed his Independence Day speech.
The president selected a group of prisoners to be released; among them two rapists, father and son. The two, Singer Nguza Viking, known as Babu Seya, and his son Johnson Nguza, known as Papii Kocha, raped 10 primary schoolgirls. And on Saturday, they were pardoned for they had corrected their behavior.
This comes barely five months after the president banned pregnant school girls from returning to school.
According to Ms McAlpine, Mr Magufuli “has a blind spot when it comes to recognizing children as victims. Pregnant schoolgirls are pregnant because they are victims of violence."
Last June the president delivered a speech in which he condemned the lives of pregnant schoolgirls.
"After getting pregnant, you are done," he said borrowing his statements from a law passed in 2002 which allows for pregnant schoolgirls to be expelled and excluded from school for "offences against morality" and "wedlock".
He went ahead to say that young mothers would be distracted if they were allowed back to school.
"After calculating some few mathematics, she'd be asking the teacher in the classroom: 'Let me go out and breastfeed my crying baby.'"
To the perpetrators, Magufuli said they should be imprisoned for 30 years and “put the energy they used to impregnate the girl into farming while in jail.”
Prior to their release, Viking and Nguza had served 13 years. They were sentenced to life in prison for raping 10 girls aged between six and eight years in 2003.
Now that they are out, children’s rights activist Helen Kijo Bisimba told the BBC that she is advocating for a constitutional change to ban the president from doing the same thing again.
President John Magufuli addressing the public