Death penalty should be abolished in Kenya

In Summary

• The KNCHR and legislators are working to abolish the death penalty in Kenya

• In 2017, the Supreme Court declared that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional.

The issue of capital punishment is once again in the news with the release of a new report on the death penalty.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights is working with the Justice Committee of the National Assembly to amend the law to remove capital punishment from the Penal Code.


In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory capital punishment was unconstitutional. As a result, many of the over 600 prisoners on death row may have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

But the KNCHR should still work with legislators to permanently abolish capital punishment in Kenya.

Firstly, two wrongs do not make a right. If it is wrong to kill someone, it cannot be ethical to execute a convicted criminal. For example, the British should never have executed Dedan Kimathi, even if it was done 'legally' after a trial.

Secondly, there is no evidence that capital punishment reduces the incidence of violent crime. The United States executes more people than any other country but still has the highest rate of homicide in the world.

It is time for Kenya to permanently end capital punishment and remove the death penalty from the Penal Code.

Quote of the day: "Keep under strict surveillance and control those secret establishments which, within your government structures, seem to regard themselves as above the law."

Seán MacBride
The Irish politician was born on January 26, 1904

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