Community of Sant’ Egidio pushes for abolition of Death Penalty

The Community of Sant’ Egidio – a Roman Catholic Church-based Christian community established by an Italian philanthropist Andrea Riccardi – has engaged an extra gear in its push for the abolition of death penalty across the globe.

The community has rolled out what is calls “Cities for Life” through which it is mobilizing authorities in cities across the globe to rally behind a campaign for an end to death penalty.

Community of Sant’ Egidio’s Anti-Death Penalty Coordinator Veronica Nyirenda addressing participants to the Cities for Life Engagement in Lilongwe–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

The leadership of the local Community of Sant’ Egidio on Tuesday convened a meeting at the Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe where its leadership appealed to religious and political leaders to condemn capital punishment.

The community’s Country Coordinator for Anti-Death Penalty, Veronica Nyirenda, observed that no one benefits from the capital punishment; hence, there was a need for countries to do away with laws that propagate death penalty.

A cross-section of the participants to Cities for Life engagement at Crossroads Hotel–Photo by Franco Mwachande

Nyirenda argued that ‘death for death’ does not bring healing or comfort to anyone, save for the loss of two productive lives.

A representative of the Mayor for Lilongwe City Council, Councillor for Mtsiriza Ward Patricia Singini-Ngwira, suggested that instead of sending the killers to the gallows, the government should come up with a law that would force the apportionment of their property to the bereaved families.

Singini-Ngwira said apportioning the property of the murderers would be critical in addressing the economic challenges the bereaved families are forced to endure, especially where the murdered person was a breadwinner.

“We must promote forgiveness and not revenge,” she said.

But a representative from the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), Sheikh Ahmed Chienda, provided dissenting opinion on the matter.

Chienda said instead of calling for an end to death penalty, both the faith community and the government must collaborate in sensitizing the masses on the evil of killing one another whether intentionally or unintentionally.

“As MAM, we believe that there was a reason why the Holy Books propagate death for anyone who kills another,” he said.

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