By Devota Mwachang’a
The government of Tanzania has declared to have no plan of signing an execution warrant to many offenders who have been sentenced to death penalty, a move will keep them continue to live as “silent” life imprisonment.
Death sentence is the most serious punishment imposed to an offender convicted of capital offences, notably murder, treason and any other grave offences as specified in the Penal Code, Cap 16 of the laws.
According to information obtained from Tanzania Prison Services by the Legal and Human Rights Center, a Tanzanian NGO, in 2015 there were 472 individuals under sentence of death, 452 men and 20 women.
Speaking during the sworn-in ceremony of Chief Justice Prof. Ibrahim Hamis Juma which held at State House in Dar es Salaam on Monday, President John Magufuli admitted that it is too hard for him to sign a death warrant.
Tanzania President John Magufuli
“I know there are people who convicted of murder and waiting for death penalty, but please don’t bring the list to me for decision because I know how difficult it is to execute,” said President.
Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Dr Hellen Kijo Bisimba commended the President’s decision, but calls on the government to tottaly abolish death penalty in the country.
Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Dr Hellen Kijo Bisimba
“We need the abolition of this penalty due to the fact that it can’t be implemented; in this case, it should be wise for the judges to change punishment from death to life imprisonment or sentenced to 30 and above years in jail,” she said.
Although Tanzania has been a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1976, it has neither signed nor ratified the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR allowing for the right of individual petition nor the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
Tanzania ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 1984 and the Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2006.
Tanzania is one of the 21 countries around the world where the death penalty is still legal. But unlike many countries where people continue to be executed, there has been a de facto moratorium on executions since 1994. A variety of methods are used, including hanging, shooting, lethal injection and beheading.