Dar es Salaam
Tanzanian President John Magufuli has praised a senior government official for caning a group of secondary school students who were accused of setting fire to their dormitories.
A widely-shared video shows regional commissioner Albert Chalamila administering beatings to a group of students who were lying face down.
Earlier, a government minister had criticised Mr Chalamila as only headteachers are allowed to carry out corporal punishment.
But President Magufuli, who has become known for his no-nonsense attitude, has also called for the law on corporal punishment to be changed so that it can be meted out by all teachers.
The president also wants to relax the rules on when caning a student might be appropriate.
Currently, even headteachers are discouraged from resorting to corporal punishment, they have to have a strong reason to do so, and are limited to four strokes.
Mr Magufuli dismissed those who say that physically punishing students is an abuse of their human rights.
‘’I have spoken to Mbeya regional commissioner [Mr Chalamila], and I told him: ‘You did a great job caning them’.
“He should have caned them even more. Those who advocate for human rights should pay for the dormitories – these buildings were built by poor parents’ contributions,’’ the president said.