Mandatory death penalty challenge come for the first mention
In our cause to guarantee the right to life, LHRC on October 9, 2018 lodged a petition in the High Court of Tanzania, Miscellaneous Civil Case No. 22 of 2018 challenging the mandatory death penalty. Today October 29, 2018 the mandatory death penalty petition came for mention before Judge Luvanda. The petition is assigned before the panel of Madam Justice Munisi, Judge Luvanda and Judge Masoud. The Attorney General who was duly served with summons did not appear and the matter has been fixed for another mention on November 12, 2018 at 1300hrs.
In this mandatory challenge LHRC has drew the inference from Malawi, Uganda and Kenya our neighbours who have abolished mandatory death penalty through case law. Malawi abolished mandatory death penalty in a year 2007 through the case of Kafantayeni v. Attorney-General,  MWHC 1, Uganda in the case of Susan Kigula and 416 Others vs Attorney General, 2009 and recently Kenya in the case of Francis Karioko Muruatetu & Wilson Thirimbu Mwangi Vs Republic Petition No 16 of 2015. This makes Tanzania the only country with mandatory death penalty in East Africa.
There are at least 28 countries that maintain a “mandatory” death penalty for specified offenses. Those countries are: Afghanistan, Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guyana, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Zambia.
A mandatory sentencing scheme is one where the imposition of a death sentence is automatic upon conviction of a crime. The court (or other sentencing authority) retains no discretion to take into account the facts of the offences or the characteristics of each individual offender; instead, each offender is sentenced to death regardless of any mitigating circumstances that may apply.