By John Ikani
President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema has announced that the Southern African country is making moves to abolish death penalty.
Speaking on the eve of Wednesday’s Africa Freedom Day, Hichilema described the moves as a “big decision” by his Government.
According to him, “We will work with parliament to run this process as we transition away from the death penalty and focus on the preservation, rehabilitation of life while still delivering justice for all.
“This is important. We believe in it. Africa Freedom Day is a symbol of our collective commitment to secure a better future for all.”
What you should know
Though Zambia has had the death penalty law, no executions have taken place since the late 90s.
The moves by Zambia is a part of efforts by African nations geared towards discarding brutal laws imposed by past colonial masters.
In April 2021, Malawi ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. In May of 2020, Chad did the same.
Nearly half of Africa’s 54 independent countries have abolished the punishment, more than double the number from less than two decades ago.
While death sentences and executions have declined globally in recent years, they do not necessarily reflect the growing number of countries that have banned capital punishment.
At least some of the declines are attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic, which slowed or delayed judicial proceedings in many countries. And in some, like the United States, federal executions were ramped up in 2020.