In a bid aimed at reducing pressure in jails, Tanzanian President John Magufuli has released more than 5,000 inmates.
The president made this known to the public on Monday as the nation celebrated her independence’s 58th anniversary.
He authorized the release of 5,533 inmates with the process commencing on Tuesday.
This is the largest number of prisoners to be freed in this way and comprises about 15 percent of all the country’s prisoners.
“Some of these prisoners have been jailed over minor offences: stealing chickens, insulting his friend, having an argument with a lover,” the president said.
“But some were detained because they lacked lawyers to defend them well in their cases, while others for a failure to pay fines,” he added.
Among those who are expected to be released are those who have been granted one-year term of imprisonment and those who have only one year left.
President Magufuli said that there are 35,803 prisoners in the country’s prisons, and more than half are still waiting to go to court.
This is a welcomed gesture, and ore efforts should be put in place to make sure that citizens are not sent to jail for flimsy reasons, that can be resolved even out of court.