Abolish death sentence to protect rights, govt urged

Saturday October 14 2017


By By Deogratius Kamagi @Deogratiuskamagi dkamagi@tz.nationmedia.com

Pressure is mounting for Tanzania to abolish the death penalty.

That follows President John Magufuli’s remarks that he would not sign any death warrant during his term in office.

Legal and Human Rights Centre official Fulgence Massawe said during an event to mark International Day Against Death Penalty here that Tanzania should end capital punishment.

During a ceremony to swear in Prof Ibrahim Juma as chief justice, President Magufuli said last month that he would not sign any death warrant under his presidency.

“It’s high time Tanzania repealed the law on capital punishment because it is against human rights,” Mr Massawe emphasised.

Former Prisons commissioner John Nyoka urged Tanzania to join other Commonwealth countries to abolish the death penalty as its execution had not proved successful in ending murders.

“We can change the punishment to life sentence but not hanging them to death,” said Mr Nyoka, who also worked in Namibia for 17 years to restructure that country’s former apartheid correctional system.

Earlier, French ambassador Malika Berak said the country abolished death penalty in 1981 after realising that it was contrary to principles of human rights.

“The decision did not come overnight. Since the French Revolution in 1789, people debated the matter. In fact it took us two centuries to reach to conclusion that that type of punishment should end it,” she said.

She is happy that Tanzania has not carried out capital punishment since 1994 and hopes that the country will join the long list of countries which have voluntarily adhered to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and to fully implement its article 3 on the right to life.