Activists decry of lack of data for prisoners on death row

17Oct 2021
Rose Mwalongo
The Guardian
Activists decry of lack of data for prisoners on death row

HUMAN rights activists in the country have decried the lack of data on prisoners on death row as an impediment towards an effective advocacy campaign.

The concern was raised recently during a stakeholders’ dialogue on the significance of adopting a moratorium on the use of death penalty and on the prospects of its abolition in Tanzania and East Africa.

Contributing to the topic, retired Justice Robert Makaramba said there were no statistics to indicate how many people were on death row stressing however that the number was high.

“Statistics are not there to show how many people are on the death row.  There are many people as I cannot issue statistics.  Worldwide, in 2020 there were 483 executions,” said the retired justice who admits to have sentenced people to death at one point while serving in office.

His statement was echoed by retired Justice John Ruhangisa who raised concern over the various studies conducted to collect public views on death penalty adding that all researches came with a general statement that the society needs the death penalty without the data to prove it.   

For her part, Rosemary Mwakitwange, a media guru in the country raised the same concern saying data were pertinent for any campaign inclusive of an anti-death penalty crusade.

Asked by The Guardian on the number of inmates on death row, Amon Mpanju Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and Justice seemed non -committal saying he would need time to consult to establish the number.

According to records by Amnesty International in year 2020, there 483 executions in 18 countries a decrease of 26% from 657 recorded in 2019.

Tanzania still retains the death penalty in its country books and the last time someone was hanged was in 1994.The one day event was conducted by the EU in Tanzania bringing together legal experts, human rights activists, members of the diplomatic corps, the press and  the general public. 

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