The ruling, by three judges of the Court of Appeal of Uganda, comes in the same month that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told courts to impose death sentences.
At present there are about 130 people on “death row”, although no one has been executed since 2013, marking what appeared to be a shift in thinking in the country.
CNN, noting rising crime in the country, said the President’s comments were in the wake of a series of kidnappings and killings, including one in which his nephew was a victim.
"You may commit a crime, carelessly taking away the lives of others; however, you will also lose your own life. We need to make this clear to the courts. It must be an eye for an eye," Museveni wrote in an online post.
In August, the BBC reported that Parliament had passed a law to abolish a mandatory death penalty for certain crimes - restricting capital punishment to the “most serious of crimes”.
And this is what the three appeal court judges labelled the actions of Mutema Muzamiru (alias Ronald) when he murdered his own child - apparently to get back at his wife who had fled after an argument over the paternity of the two-and-a-half-year-old girl.
Evidence at the trial before the high court was that Ronald’s uncle and aunt lived nearby. After intervening in the earlier fight they had gone to bed but woke later to the sounds of the child, Mutunda Doreen, screaming.
They rushed to the house and found Ronald “slapping and boxing” the child. He refused to give them money to take the child to hospital and the little girl died on the way to a local health centre.
A medical report revealed she had “multiple injuries” and had died from suffocation and strangulation.
Ronald pleaded for mercy, his lawyers arguing that it was “not the worst kind of murder” and that he should rather be sentenced to 20 years in jail.
The appeal judges, in their ruling, said the governing principle was that the death penalty should be reserved for “the rarest of rare cases - the very worst or the most horrific”.
“The fight (with the mother) had stopped when the child was killed. She was defenceless and did not deserve such brutal treatment from her own father. She was unconscious and yet he refused to give money for her to be taken to hospital. He remained seated on the verandah.”
They said while Ronald was young, and a first offender, the circumstances under which he killed his child were “cruel, unprovoked, horrific and cold-blooded which makes this case fall into the category of the very worst murder”.
“He does not deserve any leniency...the trial judge was justified in passing the maximum sentence of death,” they said, dismissing his appeal.
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