Malawi starts ‘Kafantayeni’ justice: Prisoners on death sentence to be reheard

Malawi High Court will from February 11 start rehearing cases of prisoners sentenced to the mandatory death sentence, with the first hearing expected to held  in Zomba.

Malunda: Court files for the majority of the prisoners have been lost

Malunda: Court files for the majority of the prisoners have been lost

In 2007 the High Court of Malawi abolished the mandatory death penalty. In what become known as the Kafanteyeni ruling the mandatory death penalty was deemed by the bench as unconstitutional as it amounts to an arbitrary deprivation of life, denies an accused the right to a fair trial and the right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment.

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is running a ‘Kafantayeni Project’  which aims at giving a second chance to 170 prisoners on mandatory death sentence to be reheard.

Resentencing hearings give prisoners the opportunity to present mitigating evidence before the court so that a judge may be persuaded  to hand down a sentence other than death.

The project is also being implemented by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Legal Aid Bureau and Paralegal Advisory Service International  (PASI).

Briefing the press in Lilongwe on Monday, DPP representative Dziko Ndianthu Malunda said they will start with less complex cases.

“These are the cases which had it been that there was no mandatory death  penalty the court could have given the convicts lesser sentences,” he said.

However, he said out of the 170 prisoners, there are only traced files of 82 convicts.

“This means that we will have to reconstruct files to ensure that no one  is denied justice simply because of the missing file,” he said.

The Tilitonse funded project is also being implemented by Center for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance, Chancellor College Faculty of Law, Cornell Law School and Malawi Prison Service.

MHRC Executive Secretary Grace Malera said the cases will be heard on mitigation and aggravating factors.

The abolition of the mandatory death penalty in Kafantayeni and the fact that Malawi has not actually carried out an execution since 1992 puts the country in good stead to abolish the death penalty. Countries like Malawi that have made the transition to democracy increasingly see abolition of the death penalty as a necessary step to signal their commitment to human rights.


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Imraan Sadick

Ndiyetu bola mungowauza aja amasintha bible aja asintheso lamuro la Mulungu lokuti okupha aphedwe/wakuba adulidwe manja/
Nanga kumangowerenga Bible ngati literature opanda chochitsata amangwetu??
Pompano timva kuti ma Gay adzikwatilanaso
Sharia law is ideal


No no no you want to treat murderers with soft gloves? Thunder fire you. If anything why cant you let those that feel they were wrongly convicted appeal on their own other complying all files etc. That’s a waste of govt resources. Use that money for the so many outstanding cases like remanded, cashgate etc. Fotseki


Koma mabungwewa akuwatuma ndani zimenezi?tiyeni tizipempherani abale anga kwambiri.


I was afraid To commit This crime koma ndie zidzakhala bwino.Ndikadzaba sindidzaphedwa
You think God was a fool!!!! Mbuzi za wanthu.Ofunika kumapha ana a ma human rights activist ngati amenewa adzakudziwe kuwawa mmene zikhalira


Akatuluka ndidzabwezera,naye afe ndithu.

Concerned citizen

The world has in general become too soft with criminals.

As far as I am concerned if someone has genuinely gone out with the intent to kill and do so, they deserve to die. Failing which, as far as I am concerned, there has been no JUSTICE served.


Izi ndiye zopusa zedi. Apa zikuchita kuonetsa kuti wina wake akufuna kuti some guys like achina Macholowe atuluke kundende pogamula kuti sanalakwe, kenako adzagawanepo nawo mamiliyoni a compensation kuchoka ku boma.Zautsiru basi. Bwanji osangolamula kuti aliyense amene anagamulidwa death sentence panopa ali pa life sentence mmalo mwa rehearing. What for? Macholowe yekha akatuluka, kaya?


Unfortunately criminals do not value life. Most of them they don’t care whether they live or die. They can rape hack kill to them they is no regard for human dignity or respect of fellow human beings. The death penalty is a deterrent to at least respect life.

Then there are law abiding citizens who may find themselves in a situation where they unintentionally kill someone in the heat of the moment, to such consideration must be given.

nkhutukumve weni-weni
nkhutukumve weni-weni

where there was real evidence, then it is better to offer them life sentence-i.e. they should not leave the bars until death comes on them. Please keep them away from the rest lest they continue their behaviour.

Here we go again

what does our constitution say about marder cases can someone tell me? These so called human right orgs are confusing us, now you want to tell us that those who hav been mardered they had no right to live? the bible says, the love of money is the root of all evil, soon or late you face the hand of God

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