Dar es Salaam,
Tanzanian President John Magufuli pardoned more than 5,000 prisoners on Monday as the country marked the 58th anniversary of independence of Tanganyika.
He ordered that the 5,533 prisoners be released from Tuesday.
The head of state made the announcement at the CCM Kirumba Stadium where the national celebrations took place.
He added that prisons in the country were also congested with the country’s correction facilities holding 35,803 people – 17,547 in prisoners and 18,256 in remand.
“Most prisoners are serving jail terms over minor offences such as chicken theft, using abusive language against others, failure to hire good advocates and failure to pay fines,” President Magufuli said. “Therefore, I pardon a total of 5,533 prisoners.”
Beneficiaries include prisoners serving jail terms between one day and one year as well as those sentenced to serve many years but had no more than one year left to complete their prison terms.
The President warned the pardoned inmates against committing crime as that would land them in jail again.