A full bench of three high court judges has re-affirmed that the mandatory death penalty in Tanzania is constitutionally valid. No new factors had been given to the court to indicate that anything had changed since the last time the issue was considered by the judiciary, said the judges, so they could not vary the previous decisions or rehear the issue ‘on the same facts’. But, they said, the issue could be taken to the highest court via review if the petitioners felt strongly about the matter.
Read the judgment
Perhaps the most interesting sentence in the whole judgment is a quotation that comes from a 1995 Court of Appeal decision. The court wrote, ‘We may observe here that we are aware of the drive to abolish the death penalty worldwide. But that has to be done, as the learned Trial Judge has aptly put it, by deliberate moves ‘to influence public opinion in a more enlightened direction’.’