15 February 2019

Tanzania: Piece of Firewood Used to Punish Pupil, Says Witness

THE assistant head teacher of Kibeta Primary School in Bukoba Municipal Council Sundi Elisha (40) told the High Court yesterday that the school discipline teacher used a piece of firewood to cane a Standard Five pupil, who later fainted and died, while being rushed to Bukoba Referral Regional Hospital.

Ms Elisha was testifying as prosecution witness (PW 8) in a murder case PI No 56/2018 involving two teachers of Kibeta Primary School in Bukoba Municipal Council accused of murdering Sperius Eladius (14).

The accused are Respicius Patrick Mutazangirwa (50) and Elieth Gerald (46).

She told Judge Lameck Mlacha, who was presiding at the case, that on the morning of August 27, last year, she reported for duty in early morning and was assigned to act on behalf of the head teacher, Ms Renatha Izidor, who was assigned other duties by the ward education officer.

Led by Principal State Attorney Hashim Ngole in examination-in-chief she testified that soon after the second accused (Elieth) arrived at the school she complained that her wallet was missing.

Ms Elisha told the court that after she saw Mutazangirwa caning the pupil using a piece of firewood with a child crying in agony and calling for help she was upset before she (Ms Elisha) grabbed the piece of firewood and threw it away.

Ms Renatha Izidory (38), the head teacher, who testified as PW 7, told the court that she was appointed to head Kibeta Primary School in April 27, last year, adding that according to the Education Circular No 24/2002 only head teachers were authorised to administer corporal punishment.

Led by Senior State Attorney Hianico Mlekano, Ms Izidory told the court that according to the circular only four strokes of the cane were allowed to be applied on the offender's buttocks and not on other parts of the body.

She explained before the court that caning on other parts of the body was breaking the law. She said before a teacher could punish a pupil several factors were supposed to be considered, including age of the pupil, gender and his or her health condition.

A pathologist from Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza City, Dr Kahima Jackson (58), told the court that the cause of the death of the Standard Five pupil from Kibeta Primary School in Bukoba Municipal Council was "neuro-genic shock due to blood force injury caused by a blunt object".

Dr Jackson, who testified as PW 5, told Bukoba High Court Judge Lameck Mlacha that he conducted a post-mortem on the body of Sperius Eradius, who was in Standard Five on August 30, last year.

According to the pathologist, the body had multiple bruises that had affected the peripheral nerve system and the central nerve system.

Merciana Yohana (16), who testified as PW 6 told the court that on August 27, last year, she arrived at Kibeta Primary School early in the morning since she was the head prefect and later second accused Elieth Gerald also arrived by a motorcycle.

Soon after Elieth (46) complained that she had lost her wallet containing her mobile phone and 75,000/- the matter was reported to the first accused, Mutazangirwa (50), who was also the discipline master.

The witness narrated that Mutazangirwa caned the pupil using a piece of firewood on the head until the latter fainted and continued caning him, claiming the pupil was just pretending.

She further told the court that Mutazangirwa also used a compass to force Eladius to confess he had stolen the wallet. Hearing of this was adjourned until tomorrow morning.

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