COUNCIL of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has accused successive Presidents of abrogating the law on death penalty by not signing death warrants although it does not support that law.

But Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja said signing the death warrant was a prerogative of the Head of State.

CCZ submitted before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs that although all successive governments abrogated the law, CCZ was not in support of the death punishment.

CCZ executive director Rev Susan Matale said the council of churches regretted that death penalty had been a statue since independence and the just amended Constitution upheld the imposition of the same law.

Rev Matale said death penalty could not find any support in scriptures both in the New and Old testaments.

“Human life is sacred and cannot be taken by anyone else even the State. The one that takes life has also committed murder. The State is not exempted from crime of committing murder,” he said.

Rev Matale acknowledged that crime needed to be punished but that when a person was put to death, there was no punishment on the part of the person sentenced to death. “The guilty and regret remains with the person that executes another person,” Rev Matale said. But the Police chief  said death penalty provisions were appropriate and should be applied as provided for by the Constitution and the Penal Code.

Mr Kanganja said Zambia had not ratified the international human rights instrument on the death penalty which was the second optional protocol to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. “There are no serious challenges in the administration and dispensation of justice in relation to capital offences. The minor setbacks are that because these are serious offences, sometimes investigations and prosecution of the offenders may take too long,” Mr Kanganja said.


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