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November 24 2009 | TANZANIA

Tanzania

President Kikwete reduces 75 death sentences to life prison

 
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The Citizen

Death penalty is supported by the people: Kikwete

President Jakaya Kikwete has said many Tanzanians support the death penalty unlike many countries around the world that have abolished it.

Speaking in Rome at a dinner hosted by the Council of Saint Egidio, the president said a survey by the Government had established that the death penalty was a befitting deterrence against brutal killings.

President Kikwete however said the death penalty was only being used as a toothless dog, saying more than 200 people were on the death row but none had been executed.

"Just few days ago I reduced 75 death sentences to life imprisonment, the law is there but for a long time it has not been applied," said Kikwete.

Mr Kikwete also talked about albino killings, saying the acts had tarnished the country's image. "These terrifying killings are inspired by ignorance in this era of science and technology," said Mr Kikwete.

"I don't believe people are so ignorant to believe that a thumb of an albino can make someone rich in this era, but the Government will stand firm to stop these killings," said the president.

The president also warned the media in the country against straying off ethics course, saying some media houses did not have agendas and were just inciting violence.

"The Government will not tolerate such media houses which misuse their freedom to cause violence in the country,"said Mr Kikwete.

The founder of Council of Saint Egidio, a history professor at Rome university, Prof Andrea Riccardi, said: "Tanzania is a good example of how the world should live without fighting on the bases of religion, tribe or racial segregation."

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