Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli visited Butimba Prison in Mwanza on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 where he was greeted with both tear-jerking and interesting tales by inmates.
Some of the inmates, who chanced to air their grievances to President Magufuli included: Mr Kalikenya Thomas, Hashim Kijuu, Kulwa Alphonce, Shukrani Masegenya, Edson Mwombeki and Abdulrahman Athumani.
Prison wardens might have experienced shocks waves down their spines when some inmates accused them of grabbing their properties, including mobile handsets, in before the head of state.
Hashim Kijuu specifically found an issue with one of the police officers from the Regional Crimes Officer - who was identified by only one name as Sangali - saying he (the officer) fabricated the charges that saw him (Kijuu) entering the prison gates.
"In fact, I sold my own farm but I ended up receiving a fabricated case of money laundering. This is how I found myself here," he said.
As for Kulwa, it was his failure to pay a Sh1 million bribe to police officers during his days as a petroleum dealer that secured him a place in prison.
"I was selling petroleum products when suddenly, I was arrested by police. They ordered me to pay a Sh1 million bribe but I said I could afford Sh200,000 only. They did not agree with my bribe offer and that was how they sent me here," he said.
President Magufuli later invited police officers who issued clarifications on a number of claims by inmates.
President Magufuli promised to address the challenges facing prisoners and prison wardens, including those to do with fabricated cases, bribery and delay in handling of cases among others.
He also promised to deal with the challenges facing prison wardens which include their actual welfare, lack of enough working equipment such as vehicles and uniforms as well as shortage of houses.
"I have heard a lot challenges facing prisoners and prison wardens. I have heard of corruption claims. I know that there are some innocent people serving jail terms and many others who have their cases delayed in the attempt to deny them of their rights," he said, adding: "I am here with the Regional Commissioner (RC), the Regional Police Commander (RPC), the Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) and the entire defense and security committee for the region... . I would like to assure you that we will address these challenges. Just give us time."