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Tanzanian president sacks official over caned teachers

world Updated: Feb 14, 2009 15:17 IST

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has sacked a district official who ordered police to cane 16 teachers for lateness and truancy, the government has announced.

A statement late Friday said the government was shocked at reports that primary school teachers in Bukoba district were whipped on orders of the district commissioner.

The commissioner, Albert Mnali, had on Wednesday ordered police to administer four lashes of the cane to each of the teachers at a police station.

"These teachers often report late for duty and some of them are fond of being absent for several days," Mnali told AFP Friday. "They deserved to get corporal punishment."

"The government has followed up the issue and heard the explanation from the commissioner. It has been concluded that Mnali's decision is unacceptable and humiliating to teachers, contrary to public service regulations," the government statement said.

On Friday, Deputy Education Minister Mwantumu Mahiza called the incident "unfortunate and utterly absurd," suggesting that Mnali needed to be psychologically assessed.

The teachers' union and rights groups said they were considering court action against Mnali.