PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete on Sunday pardoned 3,814 prisoners on the occasion of the 51st independence anniversary of the Tanzania Mainland, the Minister for Home Affairs, Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi, said in a statement.
"The government hopes that those who will be set free are going to join the society in building the nation and avoid crime so that they don't go back to prison," he said. Those who have benefited from the presidential clemency include those serving imprisonment terms not exceeding five years and had so far served at least a quarter of the sentence.
Others are those suffering from life-threatening diseases such as HIV/Aids, TB and cancer and their conditions are at terminal stage. However, inmates in this category must be approved by a panel of medical experts led by regional or district medical officer to be released.
Also pardoned are the erlderly above 70 years, but their ages have to be verified by a panel of medical experts led by a regional or district medical officer. The clemency also covers pregnant and lactating women, as well as those with physical and mental disability.
The statement, however, underscored that the pardon does not cover those on death row, serving life term and those convicted of offences related to carjacking, destruction of infrastructure, drug trafficking and use or trading in narcotic substances.
Also excluded are prisoners convicted of crimes related to graft, armed robbery or robbery with violence, as well as offences linked to firearms, sexual offences and making school children pregnant. Regular offenders, escapees and inmates convicted of abuse of office and those who are in jail for preventing their children to go to school are not among the pardoned.
Meanwhile, ROSE ATHUMANI reports that as the country marked 51 years of independence, President Kikwete on Sunday awarded medals to 40 outstanding public employees and other individuals for their exemplary service to the nation.
The medals were in different categories, including the Order of the United Republic First and Second Class Medal, the Long Service and Ethical Conduct of the First and Second Class Medal, the Sport and Arts Medal and Environmental Medal of the First and Second Class Medal.
The other Categories are the Order of Uhuru Torch of the Fourth Class Medal, the Invention and Scientific Research Medal and the Medal for Gallantry. Among those who received the order of the United Republic First Class Medal include Dr Mohammed Seif Khatib and Chief Secretary, Ambassador Ombeni Sefue.
Others are Mr Ludovick Utouh, the Controller and Auditor General, Mr Ramadhani Musa Khijja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance who received the Long Service and Ethical Conduct of the First Class medal; Dr Felician Kilahama of the Ministy of Natural Resources and Tourism and Mr Reginald Mengi who received the Environmental Medal of the First Class.
Ms Fatuma Khamis Baraka,famously known as Bi Kidude, Mr Muhidini Mwalimu Gurumo, and the late Fundi Saidi, famously known as Mzee Kipara, won the Sports and Arts Medal. Commissioner General of Prisons John Minja received the Order of the Uhuru Torch of the Fourth Class Medal.
Eleven military personnel received the Medal for Gallantry for overpowering pirates and successfully rescuing a boat with its passengers that had been hijacked by the pirates in Lake Tanganyika. They are P.5906 Lt Col E. W. Mcheri, PF 15221 ASP Mohammed Kilonzo and MT 97213 Private Ally Simba Hamad, all from Kigoma region.