They were concerned that allowing conjugal visitations to married prisoners would help control HIV/Aids infections amongst prisoners. The MPs claimed that denying prisoners conjugal visits is to deny inmates their biological needs.
Presenting the report of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Constitutional Affairs for the 2018/2019 period, Mohamed Mchengerwa (Rufiji, CCM) argued that the government should create an environment that would facilitate conjugal visitations.
“We might ensure all the rights to inmates, but we must consider their conjugal rights,” he said, noting that conjugal visitations should be provided in accordance with set regulations.
The committee chair suggested that the government increase budget funds for the Tanzania Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) for it to efficiently implement its activities.
The commission has a dual role of a human rights commission and an ombudsman, enabling it to work for the promotion and protection of human rights.
In a contribution, Special Seats MP Alfredina Kahigi (CUF) insisted on the need for observance of prisoners’ conjugal rights saying denying them sexual relations for many years may cause health complications to the inmates. He said prisoners staying seven years without sexual relations are at risks of damaging their reproductive organs, thus becoming unfertile.
“These people may end up being unfertile if they stay for more than six years without meeting their partners. Let us facilitate their private visits,” he said.
Special Seats MP Najma Giga (CCM) said there should a plan to separate prisoners according to their age and offences. She said most prisons put adolescents and adults together the thing that may effectively spoil the youthful inmates.
The MP said it wasn’t proper to mix rapists and bandits with other inmates, in which case “there should be different chambers for various groups of prisoners to save youths in prison from being spoiled by robbers.”
In its other observations, the committee said the government has been grating rights to the people such as economic and social rights, as well as respecting rights arising from customary law.
On social rights, the government has improved provision of safe and clean water whereby the number of people accessing clean water had increased to 22,951,371 in 2017 from 15,200,000 in 2013.
On the right to health, committee chairman Mchengerwa said the government has established 6,155 health centers and constructed four zonal laboratories for diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). About 90 percent of TB patients were cured between January 2018 and January 2019, he added.