Zambian President announces 'big decision' to abolish death penalty

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Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has announced he is making moves to abolish the death penalty in the country.

He termed it a "big decision" by the government.

“We will work with parliament to run this process as we transition away from the death penalty and focus on the preservation, and rehabilitation of life while still delivering justice for all,” he said on the eve of Wednesday’s Africa Freedom Day.

“This is important. We believe in it. Africa Freedom Day is a symbol of our collective commitment to secure a better future for all.”

To mark Africa Freedom Day the Zambian President has pardoned 2045 inmates, including 2012 ordinary inmates and 33 elderly inmates. He also commuted sentences for 607 inmates.

Though Zambia has had the death penalty law, no executions have taken place since the late 90s.

The government will now work with Parliament to transition from the death penalty to focusing on preserving and rehabilitating life, while still delivering justice.

According to Ambrose Lifuna, the acting Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, the government has started addressing the problem of congestion in correctional facilities.

This includes various means such as advocating for community sentencing for minor offences.

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