Dar es Salaam. Minister for Education, Science and Technology Prof Adolf Mkenda on Tuesday said that the government has launched an investigation into reports alleging that some private schools in Kilimanjaro, northern Tanzania, are instructing students on how to commit sodomy among themselves.
The move follows a report published by Nipashe newspaper on Monday where a mother opens up about her son’s involvement in the acts of sodomy at his school, with the son saying that the school’s patron has been instructing them how to carry out the acts.
“[My son] told me that they were given these instructions at night, ordered to never reveal the information to either teachers or parents, while being promised some gifts, including a privilege to speak to their parents,” the paper quoted the anonymous parent as saying.
“My son told me that Standard Six and Standard Seven students are the ones who commit sodomy to students of lower classes,” continued the parent who caught her nine-year-old son committing sodomy at their home. “Patron threatened students that if they resist there will be consequences.”
The paper did not name the school where these acts are said to happen but Prof Mkenda told journalists in the capital Dodoma on Tuesday that the government “takes the allegations seriously.”
“We are shocked by these reports and we take the allegations seriously,” Mkenda told journalists. “We have dispatched the Commissioner of Education, the Director of Quality Assurance and the ministry’s lawyer to these schools so that we can get to the bottom of these allegations.”
Prof Mkenda also said that law enforcers will take part in the investigation exercise so that if any criminal act is observed during the investigation steps could be taken immediately, adding that it is his expectation that the team investigating these reports will submit its report the soonest.
“The government is ready to take all necessary measures aimed at putting these practices to an end,” he added. “Though these reports concern one region [Kilimanjaro], they might as well taking place in other regions. Once brought to our attention, we will take action.”
Reports that boarding schools contribute to the rise of acts of sodomy among children have been going on for some time now in Tanzania.
The reports are happening at a time when acts involving violence against children are at an all-time high, leaving parents and other stakeholders in dismay.
Data from police indicate that between 2017 and 2021 alone, a total of 5182 acts of sodomy to children were reported across the country, these being those incidents that were reported to the police only.
In his briefing with reporters on Tuesday, Prof Mkenda said that the government will not allow these acts to taint the image of schools as well as that of the country.
“We are doubling our efforts in following up these reports in our schools and it is important that people support us in that,” Mkenda said, urging members of the general public to not shy away from sharing information that would expose such acts.
“We will never allow the behaviour of a few people to taint the image of our schools or the country,” he vowed. “We must take action and put these acts to an end.”