President Hakainde Hichilema’s call on the abolition of the death penalty should be supported by Members of Parliament, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Church mother bodies, traditional leaders and all well- meaning Zambians.

The Republican President earlier this year in May, in commemoration of Africa Freedom Day said he would work with Parliament to run the process of abolishing the death penalty as the country transitions away from the death penalty and focuses on preservation, rehabilitation of life while still delivering justice for all.

Zambia has maintained the death penalty in its statutes but the last execution took place in January 1997. Presidents have subsequently refused to sign death warrants and no execution has taken place to date. This has created a defacto moratorium on the death penalty in Zambia.

“ As much as this is a welcome move, a defacto moratorium is not equivalent to removing it from its statutes. We are also alive to the fact that a mere defacto moratorium is not backed by any law therefore there are no guarantees that no execution will take place in future,” PRISCCA Executive Director Dr. Godfrey Malembeka said.

He said it was therefore gratifying to hear the Republican President in marking Africa Freedom Day making a pronouncement that Zambia is working to abolish the death penalty in Zambia.

“We appreciate that efforts have been made in the past to outlaw death penalty but unfortunately these have not been successful. As a country we need to appreciate that maintaining the death penalty serves very little purpose. Studies have shown that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent as countries that have it still see cases that attract the death penalty. The solution may lie in rehabilitating offenders while delivering justice and maintaining life imprisonment. Besides, the model adopted by the Zambia correctional service is that of rehabilitation. We believe there is no rehabilitation in the grave,” Dr. Malembeka added.

Dr. Malembeka added that the death penalty was unzambian as it contradicted the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation and it also contravened the Correctional Act No 37 whose emphasis was on rehabilitation of offenders.

He stressed further that the death penalty was expensive as prisoners on death row could not be subjected to any hard and productive labour but stayed in prison on death row at the expense of the government. Dr. Malembeka said Zambia was a fast growing democracy that needs to embrace human rights and should begin focusing on rehabilitation.

“We call on cooperating partners to have an inclusive discussion on abolition of the death penalty in Zambia” Dr. Malembeka said.


Share :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *