Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, intends to begin enforcing the death penalty.
While there are 278 people on death row, Uganda has not executed anyone in 13 years.
Museveni said that his “Christian background” has prevented him from going ahead with executions, but that he now regrets his leniency.
The 73-year-old president says that his refusal to put prisoners to death has been encouraging criminals, and that he is going to “revise a bit and hang a few”.
Human rights groups have expressed concern and alarm at Museveni’s words. Amnesty International said that resuming executions would be misguided, because there is no evidence linking the death penalty to a reduction in crime.
Museveni has responded by saying: “I saw some NGOs opposing the death sentence. In a pre-industrial society like ours removing death sentence is a recipe for chaos. Societies like the United Kingdom went through the industrial revolution 200 years ago. Here in Uganda and Africa we are dealing with pre-industrial societies.”
Museveni has been in power for three decades, and could potentially seek a sixth term in office in 2021 after signing a bill to remove the presidential age limit.