WITH cases of violence against children escalating, the Missenyi District Magistrate’s Court has convicted Celestin Isaya (62), a resident of Mabuye village of grave sexual assault on a child aged seven years, and sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment.
Prosecuting Police Inspector, Zakayo Nalekwa told the court during hearing of the criminal case that the convict committed the offence on October 8, 2022.
He told the court that on the material date, the convict (Isaya), approached the mother of a seven-year-old girl child (name withheld), claiming that he was capable of curing her ailment.
The mother accepted and allowed him to take the child. However, two hours later the mother became worried and when she went to Isaya’s house, she found the front door locked from inside. The matter was reported to police and he was arrested.
Before passing the sentence on Tuesday, Missenyi District Magistrate, Yohana Miyombo, noted that the prosecution side had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
He denounced the accused describing him as a beast who did not deserve to live in a civilised society and sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment.
Meanwhile, Francisco Minani (60), a resident of Byeju village was convicted by the same court of raping his daughter aged six years old and sentenced him to 30 years imprisonment.
Prosecuting Police Inspector Zakayo Nalekwa told the court during hearing of the case that the convict committed the offence on October 21, 2022.
Evidence tendered in court revealed that Minani had been living with his three children after he divorced his wife.
In a related development, Jonathan Buberwa (54), a resident of Kitobo village in Missenyi District was sentenced to 60 years imprisonment by the same court, after he was convicted of raping and impregnating a Form One student (name withheld).
Evidence revealed that the convict committed the offence between July and August, 2022. The sentences will run concurrently. Inspector Nalekwa prayed for a deterrent sentence, contending that the offence denied the victim the right to attend school.
Magistrate Miyombo appealed to family members to take necessary steps to safeguard the welfare of children and ensure that they get proper upbringing from the grassroots level and should enrol them in school.
“Some of the children were neglected forcing them to live in streets begging, while others were not attending school and some of them were raped. Investigations revealed that major perpetrators include relatives and neighbours,” he said.
Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 6: states…parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.
Tanzania has made commendable steps in enacting policies and laws that protect children rights including Child Right Act, 2009 and National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children (NPA-VAMWC 2017/18 – 2021/22), which aims at protecting and maintaining the welfare of a child and addressing violence against women and children in the country.
The UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 on December 19, 2011, and designated October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. The day is devoted to the rights of girls and the specific difficulties that girls face worldwide.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report of 2019, only 27 per cent of girls complete upper secondary school in Tanzania and among the poorest children this falls to 6 per cent.