Tanzania Regional Commissioner Albert Chalamila has found himself on the receiving end of netizens wrath after a video of him caning students in one of the schools in the country went viral.
According to reports, the Mbeya Commissioner stormed the school after receiving news that the 14 students were found to be in possession of mobile phones contrary to the school’s regulations.
The students were also accused of being behind a recent fire in the school that gutted dormitories.
He was filmed giving three strokes of the cane to each of the learners while castigating them for indiscipline.
“Kwa nini mnasumbua walimu? loosely translated: why are you troubling teachers, ” Chamila poses.
The punishment was administered in front of the students’ schoolmates, police officers and teachers.
Some of the officials present can be heard encouraging Chamila as he administered the corporal punishment.
One of them is heard asking the school teachers to provide Chamila with “better canes.”
“Mwalimu tunaomba fimbo, leta fimbo zinazoeleweka, loosely translated: bring better canes,” a female officer says.
The students were later sent home and are required to report back on October 18 with Tsh200,000 – Tsh500, 000 (Ksh9,000 – Ksh22,000) fine.
Mkuu wa Mkoa wa Mbeya, Albert Chalamila amewachapa fimbo wanafunzi 14 wa Shule ya Sekondari Kiwanja waliokamatwa na simu shuleni hapo na kudaiwa kuwa chanzo cha mabweni ya shule hiyo kuchomwa moto Oktoba Mosi 2019.#MclDigital#MwananchiUpdates pic.twitter.com/8ktOfWjMQy
— Mwananchi Newspapers (@MwananchiNews) October 3, 2019
Anna Henga, Executive Director of a local NGO, condemned Chamila’s acts in a tweet saying the punishment was “cruel and degrading.”
She accused the officer of abuse of office further stating that punishment in school should be left to the school head.
Nakemea kitendo hiki cha kikatili. Adhabu ya viboko ni adhabu ya kikatili na inayodhalilisha utu.
Pia nakemea kitendo cha Mkuu wa Mkoa kutumia madaraka yake vibaya kwa kutenda kinyume na taratibu za adhabu kwa wanafunzi. Mwenye mamlaka ya kumwadhibu mwanafunzi ni Mwalimu Mkuu. pic.twitter.com/cewY4skCdv
— Anna Henga (Advocate) (@HengaAnna) October 3, 2019
Henga was flanked by a number of other activists and netizens who called on Chamila to desist from such humiliating acts.
— fatma karume aka Shangazi (@fatma_karume) October 3, 2019
Tuipinge adhabu ya viboko na kusisitiza mamlaka kufuata utawala wa sheria. https://t.co/iEKGkOe4xO
— LHRC (@humanrightstz) October 3, 2019
@tanpol tunaamini kuna uvunjaji wa sheria katika swala hili la ndugu Albert Chalamila -RC Mbeya
Inasikitisha kuona Askari amesimama pembeni jinai hii ikitendeka. #ChukuaHatua @MarekaMalili @MariaSTsehai @kigogo2014 @bajabiri @HecheJohn @humanrightstz @hrw @ellybanyambala https://t.co/ojvQBsrNMJ
— ~Goodluck Haule -OG (@Goodluck_GBless) October 3, 2019
On his part, Chamila defended his acts saying indiscipline should not be tolerated in schools. He called on his critics to stop the trolling.
"Jana niliwacharaza viboko watoto, wengine wamenijadili kwenye mitandao wakihoji Mkuu wa Mkoa anatoa wapi mamlaka haya. Bosi wa Mkuu wa Shule ni Mkuu wa Mkoa. Sasa kama Mkuu wa Shule anaruhusiwa kuwachapa, basi mimi (Mkuu wa Mkoa) natakiwa niwacharaze sana."- RC Albert Chalamila pic.twitter.com/fkmJjISMzo
— Kahama Fm Radio (@fm_kahama) October 4, 2019
In July Tanzania banned corporal punishment in classrooms.
The directive was issued by Deputy Permanent Secretary in the President’s Office for Regional Administration and Local governments Tixon Nzunda.
Nzunda, who is responsible for education matters in the country, stated that corporal punishment was one of the reasons why some learners are not doing well in class.
Corporal punishment is allowed under a 1979 law but with restrictions.
Tanzania Education Act 2002 review stipulates that a teacher should consider the age and health of a student before caning them.
The Act allows only beating of a student’s hands or buttocks with a light, flexible stick.
The text also specifies that a pupil may be punished only if he has committed a serious offence.
The punishment is supposed to be “reasonable”, stipulating against inflicting more than four blows on a student, and only school principals are authorised to do so.
Over the recent past, there have been concerns about whether corporal punishment should be banned in schools in Tanzania.
This is following a 2018 case where a 13-year-old boy died after he was beaten by his teacher who accused him of stealing another teacher’s wallet.