Tanzania: 30-Year Jail Term Set for Those Impregnating Pupils, Students

Persons who will marry or impregnate primary and secondary school pupils and students should expect no mercy from magistrates as the government fills all the loopholes for lighter penalties.

The Parliament yesterday endorsed the Written Laws Miscellaneous Act (No. 2) Bill, 2016 to, among other issues, impose a jail sentence of 30 years to persons who will marry or impregnate primary and secondary school pupils and students.

Persons who will marry or impregnate primary and secondary school pupils and students should expect no mercy from magistrates as the government fills all the loopholes for lighter penalties.

The Parliament yesterday endorsed the Written Laws Miscellaneous Act (No. 2) Bill, 2016 to, among other issues, impose a jail sentence of 30 years to persons who will marry or impregnate primary and secondary school pupils and students.

Though such a penalty had been there through the country's Penal Code, Tanzania also has an Education Act that offers lighter penalties for offenders in offences of that nature.

The Education Act, Cap 353, provided a penalty of Sh500,000 or a three-year jail term for offenders. With the Written Laws Miscellaneous Act (No. 2) Act of 2016, the Education Act has been amended to provide stiffer penalties for those who will marry or impregnate primary and secondary school pupils and students while those assisting the offence will also face stiffer consequences.

"Such a penalty has been there in the Penal Code... .With the amendments to the Education Act, it (the penalty) now covers all girls - from those in schools to those who are out of school - for they are all not required to be impregnated," the Attorney General (AG), Mr George Masaju, said here yesterday.

Similarly, a five-year jail term or a Sh5 million fine will be applied to persons who will facilitate, persuade or take part in a move to marry off a primary or secondary school pupil or student.

A total of 11 Members of Parliament (MPs) contributed to the before its subsequent endorsement by the entire House yesterday, with others proposing stiffer penalties to women who cause to be impregnated by primary and secondary school boys.

Quoting from what she said to be data produced by Amnesty International - which The Citizen could not independently verify - Ms Esther Mmasi (Special Seats - CCM) said Tanzania produces 16 child marriages every day.

She said much as these figures show that the Law has come at the right time, it would also be vital to review other legislative pieces that defeat the government's intention of ensuring that all girls complete their primary and secondary schooling without hindrances.

The laws include the Marriage Act (CAP 29 R.E 2002) Sections 13 and 17. The first section allows a girl child to get married at the age of 14 after the approval of the Court of Law while Section 17 leaves a loophole to a girl child to get married at the age of 15 so long as the marriage has the parents' blessings.

The Written Laws Miscellaneous Act (No. 2) Act of 2016 - which is now only awaiting President Magufuli's signature - covers a total of 21 laws whose implementation, according to Mr Masaju, had been problematic in the past.

Other amendments included the Anti-Money Laundering Act, under which the offender will now be required to pay a fine of an amount equivalent to three times the market value of the property, up from the current Sh500 million maximum fine.

The amended laws also include the Forests Act Cap 323 whereby instead of a S million fine, the smuggler of logs will now pay a Sh5 million fine or a three-year jail term.

Though such a penalty had been there through the country's Penal Code, Tanzania also has an Education Act that offers lighter penalties for offenders in offences of that nature.

The Education Act, Cap 353, provided a penalty of Sh500,000 or a three-year jail term for offenders. With the Written Laws Miscellaneous Act (No. 2) Act of 2016, the Education Act has been amended to provide stiffer penalties for those who will marry or impregnate primary and secondary school pupils and students while those assisting the offence will also face stiffer consequences.

"Such a penalty has been there in the Penal Code... .With the amendments to the Education Act, it (the penalty) now covers all girls - from those in schools to those who are out of school - for they are all not required to be impregnated," the Attorney General (AG), Mr George Masaju, said here yesterday.

Similarly, a five-year jail term or a Sh5 million fine will be applied to persons who will facilitate, persuade or take part in a move to marry off a primary or secondary school pupil or student.

A total of 11 Members of Parliament (MPs) contributed to the before its subsequent endorsement by the entire House yesterday, with others proposing stiffer penalties to women who cause to be impregnated by primary and secondary school boys.

Quoting from what she said to be data produced by Amnesty International - which The Citizen could not independently verify - Ms Esther Mmasi (Special Seats - CCM) said Tanzania produces 16 child marriages every day.

She said much as these figures show that the Law has come at the right time, it would also be vital to review other legislative pieces that defeat the government's intention of ensuring that all girls complete their primary and secondary schooling without hindrances.

The laws include the Marriage Act (CAP 29 R.E 2002) Sections 13 and 17. The first section allows a girl child to get married at the age of 14 after the approval of the Court of Law while Section 17 leaves a loophole to a girl child to get married at the age of 15 so long as the marriage has the parents' blessings.

The Written Laws Miscellaneous Act (No. 2) Act of 2016 - which is now only awaiting President Magufuli's signature - covers a total of 21 laws whose implementation, according to Mr Masaju, had been problematic in the past.

Other amendments included the Anti-Money Laundering Act, under which the offender will now be required to pay a fine of an amount equivalent to three times the market value of the property, up from the current Sh500 million maximum fine.

The amended laws also include the Forests Act Cap 323 whereby instead of a S million fine, the smuggler of logs will now pay a Sh5 million fine or a three-year jail term.

Source: The Citizen