Time to abolish the death penalty

In Summary

• In 2017 the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional but it still on the law books.

• The Minority Leader in the National Assembly has introduced a Bill that will eliminate the death penalty completely

Hangman noose
Hangman noose

Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi has brought a bill to the National Assembly that will abolish the death penalty in Kenya.

The amendment to the Public Security Act merely endorses the status quo. In 2017 the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional because the 2010 Constitution guaranteed the 'fundamental right to life'. So this Bill merely puts the law in line with the Supreme Court ruling.

This is a cross-party matter which is non-partisan. Abolishing the death penalty is a moral issue that has nothing to do with party politics.

Of course, some people still believe in the death penalty, especially if someone has been murdered. But the Sixth Commandment 'Thou shall not kill' logically must also apply to government.

Moreover, arguably it is a worse fate to be incarcerated in prison for life than it is to be swiftly executed. Life imprisonment is an equal deterrent to execution.

There is also the issue of the later discovery of innocence, through DNA testing or fresh evidence. How do you exonerate someone who has already been executed?

So MPs of all parties should support Wandayi's bill to permanently abolish the death penalty.

Quote of the day: "I have rendered my country and people an enormous service. They owe me everything."

Mobutu Sese Seko
The Congolese colonel seized power in a military coup on September 14, 1960

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