At the weekend, Tanzanian president announced that a father and son convicted of raping multiple young girls would be freed from prison after serving 13 years of their life sentences. East African singer, Nguza Viking and his son, Johnson Nguza were ordered released immediately.
On Saturday (Dec. 9), John Magufuli announced the release of Viking, and Nuguza along with 1,828 other inmates for good behavior. An additional 6,329 other inmates will have their sentences reduced, Magufuli said. The announcement came during the 56th independence anniversary, and while the crowd allegedly cheered at the news, children’s rights activists are outraged, reports the Daily Mail.
Nuguza, known as “Babu Seya,” is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo but has lived in Tanzania for several years. The popular African singer and his son, who performs under the stage name “Papii Kocha,” were arrested in October 2003, on 10 counts of rape and 11 counts of sodomy for an apparent gang rape of girls between the ages of six and eight years old who attended the Mashujaa Primary School in Dar es Salam.
The men pleaded not guilty to the charges, and were convicted in 2003. In 2013, a Tanzanian upheld the conviction, making a presidential pardon Nguzua and Viking’s last shot at being released.
Kate McAlpine, director of Community for Children Rights, was “horrified but unsurprised” by Magufuli’s decision, which shows a “lack of understanding about violence against children,” she said according to the BBC.
McAlpine also pointed out that in Tanzania, it’s “extremely rare for child rape cases” to be prosecuted. She added the Magufuli seems to have a “punitive attitude towards young children,” and referenced his earlier comments stating that pregnant school girls should not be allowed to continue their education.