Opinion

Lawyer Jere Calls for Abolition of Death Sentence

The death sentence slapped on Chilanga Member of Parliament Keith Mweemba has reignited the debate about the sentence in Zambia.

Former Presidential spokesperson turned lawyer Dickson Jere pens his views speaking strongly against the death sentence.

Below are his thoughts:

Abolish Death Sentence

By Dickson Jere

The recent conviction and sentence to death of prominent politician, Hon. Keith Mukata, MP for murder has reignited the debate on capital punishment in Zambia. There is always sharp differences between two competing theories on death penalty and consensus almost impossible. Those for or against death sentence usually provide very convincing arguments, some backed up with religious overtones. Reminiscing the biblical scripture in Exodus 20:23-27 that teaches us the principles of “life for life” or “an eye for eye”, are the comfort lines for those in support. But some of us the abolitionists argue that death sentence is not a deterrent and that people do need a second chance. We equally find comfort in the biblical scripture in Matthew 5:38-39 when Jesus taught us that “I tell you do not take revenge on someone who offends you”.

We further argue that miscarriage of justice is possible at times and an innocent person may get to the gallows on unreliable evidence.

In 2003, I was privileged to have been appointed as Commissioner by President Levy Mwanawasa to help gather views on the new constitution and the death penalty was one of the issues we considered. We received 1,661 petitioners who wanted death penalty abolished while 1,616 petitioned for it to be maintained.

It was a close call!

In Zambia, the sentence is imposed on very serious and few cases, namely, treason, murder and aggravated robbery. Zambian Presidents have been reluctant to sign the death warrants. Statistics show that between 1978 to 1987 and 1988 to 1997, only 7 and 12 convicts were executed in Zambia. There has been no execution from 1998 onwards, meaning President Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda, Michael Sata and the current Edgar Lungu never appended their signatures on the death warrants. So effectively, we have a de facto moratorium on death penalty! When President Banda was given the warrants, he declined to sign saying he didn’t “want to have blood on my hands”. President Mwanawasa said: “I do not want to be a chief hanger”.

And so when we finally sat as Constitution Review Commission (CRC) to decide the abolition of death penalty, we split into half and no consensus was reached. Thus our recommendation was that it should be kept on our statute book temporally while the final question should be decided by a national referendum. This explains why Zambia to-date has not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Second Optional Protocol) that provides for the abolition of death penalty.

And so I join those calling for the abolition of death penalty and don’t hang my friend! Replace it with life sentence or longer jail terms.

I wonder if we still even have a hang man. From 1998 no job and getting free salary!

34 Comments

  1. Zambiaisours

    The author DOESN’T EVEN KNOW the person sentenced to hang.Are Keith MUKATA and Keith MWEEMBA the same??

    • Fwaka Ya Chingoni

      He is a substandard journalist let alone an inept lawyer. These are boys groomed by Sakwiba Sikota.

      Keith Mweemba gave his tribesmate Lillian Shaw a hard time over the treason case.

    • Kalijo

      The Author knows the convict but the preface by ZR wrongly implicates Hon Mweemba.

  2. Jk

    Revenge is for the owner of life

  3. JC SIKAZWE*

    Death pernort mast be aloud even in the Bible it’s their

    Uyo nikumupaya chabe afe mwamene anapaila muzake

    • stephen

      love your neighbours as you love your self.

  4. 11 kv power

    but I think life imprisonment is better than death penalty, as a Christian how would u feel to see someone bieng killed in such a way? In my opinion I think death penalties should be abolished. May be if a person is serving life imprisonment by lucky he can be released from jail by the president using his powers.
    everyone deserves a second CHANCE.

  5. Fwaka Ya Chingoni

    Just because of Mukata? One law for the rich and powerful who often get presidential pardons through back doors. If it was a poor man you wouldn’t be writing this nonsense.

    This is a Christian Nation mbuya. Read Genesis Chapter 9. A life for a life. Kill and be killed. We want especially economic plunderers to hang for causing many deaths like lack of drugs in hospitals.

  6. JC DOTCOM

    I can support u big man ,….us human we don’t have power on death matters, only one person has that JEHOVAH GOD so let us not judge our fellow human being to death …leave death penalties to the Almighty rmwine ….a life of a person is vital and different from any lives. Niwe Mani uwakupingula umunobe ukufwa? Nobe uli less? Tushile umwine uwabupangile ubumi!

  7. JC DOTCOM

    I can support u big man ,….us human we don’t have power on death matters, only one person has that JEHOVAH GOD so let us not judge our fellow human being to death …leave death penalties to the Almighty rmwine ….a life of a person is vital and different from any lives. Niwe Mani uwakupingula umunobe ukufwa? Nobe uli lesa?Tushile umwine uwabupangile ubumi!

  8. Richard

    its true, mr mukata need to pay even 2000 millon, to the family, and save 10yrs in jail.

  9. ZONDA

    Comment Mwebantu let the verdict work kwasila

  10. Lolo

    Death penalty is bad but the only Problem is thinking some people are more important than others. Iwe Jere is this the first time you hearing death penalty? Why didn’t you talk about it earlier?

  11. David

    He must face the law if it was ordinary citizen this could not even been discussed because its some one in society abolished no way let law take its course life for life simple weather he likes it or not kuya bebele so that the poor would not be obressed bravo to the judge he must be hanged who is he not to face the law this is a lesson all law makers should learn from lwakwe

  12. andy andy

    Rich men do not face justice but for poorman we would have even head about who killed WHO. Let this open window for all killers.remember Presidential pardon for well known person .this is proper animal farm

  13. opaya apaiwe

    Opaya apaiwe we all want to breath.

  14. chrisy mwamba

    No one is obove the Law

  15. Lazzy

    Think of the one who died over nothing he is also crying for his life loss so his blood must not jxt go scort free….. Let the law prevail evn those who were hanged in recent tymz were also not fools jxt bcoz of money you are favoring some nooo judges have passed it just sign Mr president n let go

  16. Lazzy

    Think of the one who died over nothing he is also crying for his life loss so his blood must not jxt go scort free….. Let the law prevail evn those who were hanged in recent tymz were also not fools jxt bcoz of money you are favoring some nooo judges have passed it just sign Mr president n let go you are not respecting our judges its like there are nothing

  17. Lazzy

    Think of the one who died over nothing he is also crying for his life loss so his blood must not jxt go scort free….. Let the law prevail evn those who were hanged in recent tymz were also not fools jxt bcoz of money you are favoring some nooo judges have passed it just sign Mr president n let go you are not respecting our judges its like there are nothing.

  18. Julie

    Money talks. Kill someone poor and you have people like Dickson Jere pushing for the death penalty to be abolished or even a presidential pardon.

  19. JC SIKAZWE*

    Nikupaiwa baba

  20. JC SIKAZWE*

    Nikupaiwa baba

  21. B.I.G

    Ba Jere I thought people who had been to school have wisdom, ninshi bulawyer bwenu bwakalilo kandalama ayo mano yabu animal farm, bumuselela kwakaba maybe you do the same. Purnshiment is for law breaker ,how can one be condemned when innocent, let people pay for their wrong don’t promote murder in this country BA Jere and you need to get back to the Bible and law books in short get back to law class!

  22. BONDWE

    Jere Jere Jere… How many times have I called you? Three times ooooh. Three times. Wait untill you experience what some one went through…they will come and rape you wife and daughter and you are watching…then they murder your only son in cold blood….you will cry in chewa Baba and then you will remember death penalty….some bread winners in some families have been murdered in cold blood boss. You have never gone through this Baba. One day you will understand this.
    Napita naya.

  23. Peter

    We all know either the sentence plus conviction will be squashed on appeal or Edgar Lungu will give Mukata a pardon.

    It is standard practice.

  24. Abraham Masumba

    It’s true people support you when there is benefitial,

  25. Jms

    Don’t fight but just maintain ,the wrong part is lying on judges they don’t realizes that if they judge wrongly its them God jots (write)

  26. tsn

    chiwamila galu kuluma mbuzi not mbuzi kumaluma galu wuyo wapaidwe waka emwemose wanda mupaileniko munthu mu family mwanu munga kambe so

  27. kazipute Dumisani

    that’s why zambia will never move foward, because our leaders are injustice. if it was a commoner you would have passed true judgement GOD IS WATCHING YOUR INSENCERITY

  28. never mind

    Let the law work, t has bn there for years.

  29. brother K

    Jesus said that whoever has not sinned, let him be the first to stone her.if u have not sinned before go ahead and kill, but if u know that u have sinned before don’t kill.

  30. Frantz

    Not all animals are more equal than others

  31. Chief

    Had it been an accident, I could have sympathised with Keith.However in this Case let the law take it’s course.

Comments are closed.