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Government set to take Death Penalty Bill to Parliament

CHABULIKA—The death sentence should not be abolished

Titus Mvalo

By Wezzie Gausi:

Justice Minister Titus Mvalo has disclosed that the government is ready to take the Death Penalty Bill to Parliament, having conducted thorough consultations on whether the death penalty should be abolished or upheld.

Since 1994, no State President has signed the death sentence.

Mvalo said the death sentence has not been useful to Malawi, hence the government is of the view that it be abolished.

He said the country has no person on death row as the President pardoned all of them.

“What we are remaining with is to take the bill to Parliament, which we will. The ministry, including different stakeholders, are of the view that the death sentence should be abolished,” Mvalo said.

Youth and Society Executive Director Charles Kajoloweka concurred.

He said the death penalty impedes on human rights.

“The death penalty was inherited from colonial Nyasaland. When it was introduced, around 1915, it was hoped that it would be a deterrent for a possible uprising following the [Reverend John] Chilembwe Uprising, which resulted in the execution of at least 36 Nyasas. Thus, the death penalty was a tool for suppressing the nationalist liberation movement,” Kajoloweka said.

To the contrary, Muslim Association of Malawi Chairperson, Sheikh Dinala Chabulika, said the country should uphold the death penalty.

“Our stand, as mam, will always remain that the death sentence should not be abolished. We need this law so that it should act as a deterrent to would-be offenders. If we remove this sentence, there will be chaos,” Chabulika said.

In December 2007 and 2008, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolutions 62/149 and 63/168, calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty “with a view to abolishing the death penalty”.

So far, 13 African countries have abolished death sentences, some of the countries are Rwanda, which abolished the death penalty in 2007; Burundi and Togo, which abolished it in 2009; Gabon [2010]; Benin [2012] and Congo and Madagascar, who scraped the same in 2015.

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