By John Ikani
Malawi’s parliament has kicked off consultation with public on its proposal to abolish death penalty in the Southeastern African nation.
The public enquiries being carried out in the nation’s capital, Lilongwe comes after parliament mandated its Legal Affairs Committee to solicit views from the general public on the subject, before potentially changing any laws.
There have been growing calls both locally and internationally for Malawi to abolish the death penalty, especially because the country is a signatory to the declaration of Universal Human Rights in which the punishment is not allowed.
In April 2021 courts in Malawi appeared to have abolished the death sentence following a Supreme Court ruling after hearing the petition of a convicted murderer.
The judge of the apex court ruled that death penalty negates the right to life which is otherwise provided for under the Malawi’s constitution and went on to order the re-sentencing of all cases where the death penalty was handed down.
However four months later, the Supreme Court issued a statement saying the judge had expressed his personal opinion and the death penalty remained applicable.
Tuesday’s public hearing is the first of three such sessions with similar events planned for the northern city of Mzuzu and the southern city of Blantyre later this month.
Malawi currently has 25 people sentenced to death and awaiting execution, but none have been carried out since 1994.