By MUKOSELA KASALWE and BENNIE MUNDANDO
LUSAKA lawyer Hobdy Kabwe has described the death sentence clause as being outdated and not in line with Zambia being a Christian nation.
Mr Kabwe said in as much as Presidents from Dr Kenneth Kaunda have not appended their signature for the execution of death sentences however, courts have continued to pass the law because it was what the Constitution dictated.
In an interview yesterday, he said the death sentence clause was old and that other countries in the southern region such as South Africa had done away with it.
“The death sentence clause is archaic, that is why countries such as South Africa have done away with it, even though Zambian Presidents have not been enforcing this law, it is enriched in our Constitution,” he said.
Mr Kabwe said retribution kind of laws particularly those which demanded for the life of convicts should be discouraged.
Meanwhile, Third Liberation Movement president Enock Tonga observed that in as much as Mr Mukata might erred, sentencing him to death by hanging was a violation of the Christian principle of forgiveness.
High Court Judge Susan Wanjelani sentenced Mukata to hang for killing a security guard, Mr Namakambwa Kalilakwenda at his law firm on May 6, 2017.
Judge Wanjelani convicted Mukata of AKM Legal Practitioners for killing Mr Namakambwa Kalilakwenda on the night of May 6, 2017 at the company premises in Rhodespark. And a political activist McDonald Chipenzi has appealed to law-makers to abolish the death sentence from the statutes because it does not only go against the Christian nation declaration, but has become redundant as no Republican President is willing to sign the death warrants. According to the Penal Code, when any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he shall be hanged by the neck until he is dead.
It also provides that when a person has been sentenced to be detained at the President’s pleasure, the presiding Judge shall forward to the President a copy of the notes of evidence taken at the trial, with a report in writing signed by him containing such recommendation or observations on the case as he may think fit to make.
It also provides that where a woman convicted of an offence punishable with death is found in accordance with the provisions of section 306 of the Criminal Procedure Code to be pregnant, the sentence to be passed on her shall be a sentence of imprisonment for life instead of a sentence of death.
And speaking to the Daily Nation yesterday, Mr. Chipenzi called for an immediate abolishment of the piece of legislature saying it was not in the best interest of humanity hence the need to do away with it.
“From the 1990s, no president is willing to have blood stains on his hands by signing a death warrant and therefore, the law is redundant as it is now because people are just told that they are sentenced to hang but because you can only be hanged if the President signs your death warrant, no President is willing to do so.
“We have previous cases where such judgements have not been executed because all our Presidents have refused to sign the warrants and instead gone for life imprisonment.
“President Edgar Lungu himself has committed such cases to life imprisonment and so, no one has been prosecuted under the same law. The best is to abolish it so that we remain with life sentences for capital offences,” Mr. Chipenzi said.