Rungwe District Commissioner Zainab Mbusi made the observation in Tukuyu on Tuesday at the climax of the International Women’s Day held at the regional level in the district which is well known for growing bananas, coffee and tea.
“Some prisoners are held, not because they committed an offence but, as a result of failing to defend themselves for their rights,” said the DC.
Speaking earlier during the launch of an office for Sauti ya Mwanamke Tanzania, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), DC Mbusi said she was optimistic that the entity would help to rescue innocent prisoners who have found themselves in prison as a result of fabricated charges or lack of legal knowledge.
For her part, Sauti ya Mwanamke Tanzania executive director, Advocate Laetitia Petro, said her organisation in collaboration with other well wishers had made contributions and paid a visit to women prisoners and orphans.
They also pledged to contribute once a month for the purpose of visiting prisoners.
She said her organisation’s endeavour was to provide legal assistance to needy members as most people in the area were being deprived either their land rights or inheritance due to lack of legal assistance.
The organisation, according to Laetitia, had established two offices - a headquarters in Tukuyu and an office in Mbeya - with advocates to help needy people with legal services for free.
In another move, rape especially to school-going children was mentioned to be rampant in the region, a situation that called for immediate redress and failure to which the gender parity dream of 50/50 representation by the year 2030 could turn to a nightmare.
The head of the Police Gender Desk in Mbeya Region made the remarks during her speech to mark the day, a point which was supported by another lawyer in Tukuyu who admitted that not less than a week passes without victims of rape being attended to.
The International Women’s Day is marked globally on March 8.
This year women in Rungwe District marked the day with several activities that included planting trees, engaging in a football match and a visit to the prison and orphanage, among others.
The day in Rungwe was set to end with a fashion show, dinner and dance to celebrate the lives of women in the world.
The event brought together women from more than five regions in Tanzania and was coordinated by Sauti ya Mwanamke Tanzania.