Here’s Why LHRC Wants Death Penalty Abolished in Tanzania

It calls the death penalty a “colonial relic” that is incompatible with Tanzania governed by the rule of law.
The Chanzo Reporter10 October 20222 min

Dar es Salaam. Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) on Monday demanded the government of Tanzania abolish the death penalty, outlining various reasons as to why the East African nation should pursue that goal.

Today, October 10, 2022, the world is commemorating World Day Against the Death Penalty, a day on which abolitionists across the world unite to mobilize civil society, political leaders, lawyers, public opinion and more to support the call for the universal abolition of capital punishment.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam on Monday, LHRC’s Executive Director Anna Henga said that the first reason why the death penalty should be abolished is that the punishment does not reform a convicted offender.

“The death penalty is tantamount to revenge,” Henga, who is an advocate by profession, told a press conference. “It does not reform the said criminal. Also, the death penalty does not give any relief to the victim of a crime.”

Henga also warned against the danger of sending the wrong people to death row, saying that, unlike other sentences that can be reviewed and thus unlawfully sentenced people can be released, that cannot happen in the case of the death penalty.

“Examples abound of cases where people who were not supposed to be hanged to death were subjected to that horrible sentence,” Henga pointed out. “The death penalty, unlike, say, imprisonment, cannot be reviewed or reformed. Once administered, you’re gone.”

Henga also said that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime and instead increases pain to the communities, especially to the bereaved families.

“In other words, the death penalty is not a sentence just like other sentences,” she said. “It is an act that totally and irreparably destroys people’s lives. It is therefore high time now that we abolish the death penalty as a country because we are a democracy and we follow the rule of law.”

The last execution in Tanzania took place in 1994 and by 2017 there was a total of 491 inmates sentenced to death in several jails of the country.

In 2017, during the investiture of his new Chief Justice, former President John Magufuli made a statement that was well-received by abolitionists around the world regarding his view on the death penalty.

“I am aware of the difficulties in implementing such sentences, so I am telling the courts not to submit to me the list of names of the prisoners who are in line to be hanged to death,” Magufuli, who died on March 17, 2021, said then.

“I am told there are many people waiting to be executed, but please don’t bring the list of those people to me. As politicians, we are not happy about carrying out such death sentences,” added the late president.

The Chanzo Reporter

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