Early on September 17, 2021, Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) in collaboration with members of the Coalition in Zanzibar zone handed over donation of 100 mattresses to prisoners who are serving their sentences in Zanzibar prisons. The donation is part of contribution of THRDC members who are scattered across Tanzania mainland and in the isles.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, the National Coordinator of THRDC, Mr. Onesmo Olengurumwa introduced the Coalition by explaining that the Coalition is working to ensure that it is defending human rights, but moreover members of the Coalition both on the mainland and in Zanzibar have been working to ensure that all groups are accorded their rights irrespective of where they are.

“We promise that the Coalition will ensure that it is working closely with the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, soon the Coalition is intending to open a branch in the isles in order to continue to foster cooperation between members of the Coalition from the mainland and those in the isles as well as respective governments”.

Olengurumwa explained that the donation of 100 mattresses will help prisoners in the so-called training centers (Zanzibar Correctional Facilities) to have safe environment to live during their training since it is hard for them to get their basic needs while in incarceration but when good Samaritans show kindness by donating various items it helps the prisoners to enjoy their human rights like other people.

The National Coordinator has commended the euphemism that is being used in Zanzibar (TRAINING CENTERS), since it prepares the prisoners psychologically to understand that they are there to acquire requisite skills to be reformed and when they go back to the society they become good citizens.

“Humans can make mistakes but we have the chance to make changes, therefore we believe that, psychologically when you give that name to the prison it means that you prepare the prisoner (student) to know that he is not here to be incarcerated but he is here to learn how to live well with the rest of the society without making mistakes. This is the idea we would like to introduce on the mainland so that we can improve the names of our institutions there, if possible just by hearing the name you can help someone and strengthen him” Onesmo Olengurumwa.

On his part the registrar of NGOs in Zanzibar, Mr. Ahmed Khalid Abdulla sincerely thanked the Coalition and its members for successfully facilitating availability of mattress which will be of great use in the prisoners.

“Let me thank members of the THRDC for your selfless commitment , and your willingness to handover these equipment which are of great use in these prisons, we invite others who are capable of helping, to donate other important equipment for the benefit of the prisons.” Mr. Ahmed Khalid – Registrar of NGOs Zanzibar.

Speaking during the handover on behalf of the Minister of State President Office, Regional Administration and Special department of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, the Commissioner of Correctional Facilities in Zanzibar, Mr. Khamis Bakar Khamis commended Civil Society Organizations for coming forward to give the donation which was badly needed by the prisons.

“This donation is meant to bring back human dignity, a ‘student’/prisoner who is in incarceration is not that free, he cannot go to the shop to buy a mattress even though he badly need it, where can he get it from? This donation is aiming to show us humanity, and dignity it is also an honor , we therefore very much appreciate. There is an adage that say a prison is a second street , we do not wish to go there but we do not dispute the fact that you may end up being there, lets not reproach the prisoners, if we can be of assistance with anything let us assist them it is from humanitarian grounds that we do so” said Mr. Khamis Makar Khamis.

The handover ceremony was attended by members of THRDC in Zanzibar from Unguja and Pemba , others are THRDC coordinator in Zanzibar, Mr. Abdallah Abeid who is from ZAFAYCO, the director of ANGOZA and member of the THRDC board, Mzee Hassan Khamis, Mussa Kombo who is a Coordinator of THRDC in Pemba, members of the press , and prison officials including Deputy Commissioner of Correctional Facilities in Zanzibar.

Lastly, stakeholders, corporations and members of THRDC have been urged to sustain cooperation with the government to resolve various challenges facing the people including those relating with human rights and various social services. The Government must also continue to involve all stakeholders to continue to participate in various processes in areas that the government cannot reach and human rights defenders can help to bring more development to the society.

Issued by

Tanzania Human Right Defenders Coalition (THRDC)

September 17,2021