Friday, October 13, 2017

Calls mount on Tanzania to end death penalty


By Deogratius Kamagi @Deogratiuskamagi

Dar es Salaam. Pressure is mounting for Tanzania to abolish the death penalty following President John Magufuli’s recent remarks that he would not sign any death warrant during his tenure.

Speaking this week during a debate organised to mark International day against death penalty,the head of legal aid unit at the Legal and Human Rights Centre Mr Fulgence Massawe said it was high time Tanzania put an end to the punishment.

Mr Massawe made this comment following President John Magufuli’s stance last month when he said that he would not sign death warrant under his tenure.

President Magufuli said this during a swear-in event of the Chief Justice Prof Ibrahim Juma,

According to Mr Massawe,  President Magufulimade it clear that he was not ready to approvedeath warrant then it is a time for the country to flash it out, because the punishment is contrary to the human rights,” he attributed.

Contributing to the debate, former commissioner of Prisons John Nyoka said Tanzania should join other common wealth countries to abolish the penalty as its execution hasn’t proved success on ending murders.

“We can change the punishment event into lifetime jail sentences but not hanging them to death,” said Mr Nyoka who had also worked in Namibia for 17 years in restructuring that country’s former apartheid correctional system.

Earlier, on her welcoming remarks, the French ambassador to Tanzania Ms Malika Berak said France had abolished the death sentence penalty since 1981 after seeing it was contrary to the principles of human rights.

“France abolished death penalty in 1981, the abolition did not come out of the blue for us, ever since the French Revolution in 1789, discussion and debates took place in our society, in fact it took us two centuries to end it,” she said.

She also praised the fact that the penalty hasn’t executed since 1994 saying this was a positive development, with optimism that the country will join the long list of countries which have voluntarily decided to adhere the Universal Declaration on Human rights and to fully implement its  article 3 on the right to life,” she said.