ZAMBIA: CCZ AGAINST DEATH PENALTY
January 21, 2016: the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) executive director Rev Susan Matale said before the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, that 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. ‚ÄúHuman 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,‚ÄĚ 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. ‚ÄúThe guilty and regret remains with the person that executes another person,‚ÄĚ Rev Matale said.
She expressed a different position from Pukuta Mwanza, executive director of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) who, the day before, called the Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs not to abolish the death penalty because it is biblical.
Rev Mwanza said the sixth commandment of the Bible of ‚Äėyou shall not kill‚Äô does not refer to death penalty but to murder which was deliberate termination of another‚Äôs life. ‚ÄúIt is therefore incorrect to use this scripture to oppose death penalty as it does not refer to the functions of the state,‚ÄĚ he said.
He said death penalty was necessary for the protection of the general public while the opponents of death penalty claimed that it was not a deterrent to crime. ‚ÄúWhen there is no fear of punishment, crime runs rampant. People will not fear committing an offence whose punishment is light or one which is not punishable at all,‚ÄĚ Rev Mwanza said.
Rev Mwanza said the implementation of death penalty in Zambia had been weakened by the reluctance by Presidents to sign for the execution of those on death roll making murder convicts to not fear death sentence because they knew that their execution may not actually be signed.
‚ÄúLack of or limited execution in the past has affected lessons for fear of punishment,‚ÄĚ Rev Mwanza said. (Source: Zambia Daily National, 22/1/2016 and 21/1/2016)