TANZANIA: 286 INMATES ON DEATH ROW AS GOVERNMENT RECEIVES VIEWS ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
October 31, 2008: the Tanzanian government said that the last time a person was hanged in the country was in 1994, while the number of inmates on death row currently stands at 286.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Hamisi Kagasheki told the National Assembly while responding to a question by Ponsiano Nyami (Nkasi) who wanted to know how many prisoners had been hanged, those on death row, and the longest time an inmate on death row has had to wait before hanging. Ambassador Kagasheki said the longest duration an inmate has had to stay on death row was 22 years. He however insisted that the death sentence was a very controversial issue.
"Killing someone is a serious issue," Kagasheki said. Nyami said that keeping prisoners on death row amounted to psychological torture as inmates lived a life of uncertainty. The Legal and Human Right Centre (LHRC), in collaboration with the Southern Africa Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations Tanzania Chapter (SAHRINGON), recently took part in a peaceful march to press the government to abolish the death penalty, arguing that it violated the rights to life.
Early this year the government, through its Constitutional and Justice minister Mathias Chikawe, said it was collecting views on whether or not to abolish the death penalty. (Sources: IPP Media, 01/11/2008)