File picture: Independent Media

Johannesburg - Two Tanzanians serving life sentences for raping primary school children have walked free from a Tanzanian prison after receiving a presidential pardon, the BBC reported on Monday.

The two popular rhumba singers, Nguza Viking, known by his stage name Babu Seya, and his son Johnson Nguza, known by his stage name of Papii Kocha, were among 1 000 prisoners freed by President John Magufuli on Saturday.

The men had completed 13 years of their life sentences following their conviction of raping 10 girls aged between six and eight years who were all pupils at the same Dar es Salaam school.

Despite their heinous crimes, on their release they were greeted by cheering fans and family after walking out of the prison gates.

Dr Juma Malewa, Tanzania's commissioner-general of prisons, praised them for their good behaviour while incarcerated. 
 
While their fans approved of their early release, not all Tanzanians did, with reports of heated debate around the country following the pardon.