Malawi Muslims calls for death row

The death penalty as enshrined in the country’s laws should be implemented on the offenders, the country’s supreme Muslim body, Ulama Council of Malawi has appealed.

Although Malawi retains the death penalty it has not carried out an execution since 1992. This forces some to believe that it has a policy or established practice of de facto abolition.

The current Malawi’s position is that the imposition of the death penalty should be restricted to cases of murder.

Shareef: There should be execution for offenders
Shareef: There should be execution for offenders

Secretary General of Ulama Council of Malawi, Dr. Imran Shareef argues that leaders by not signing execution warrants for dangerous criminals, it has fuelled crime rate “which is even scaring prospective investors.”

“Criminals have gone on the prowl killing and robbing violently without mercy,” he told

Shareef, one of the country’s renowned scholars, said as much as democracy has brought liberation to the country’s citizenry, it has also brought its own share of bad effects, including uncontrolled freedom which afforded dangerous criminals opportunities to unleash terror on innocent people.

“The rate of crime in Malawi has reached alarming and worrisome levels. Criminals are not afraid of being hanged, because there is lack of political will to sign death warrants,” he said.

“It is for this reason that we are pleading with those in authority to uphold this clause of the constitution in order to minimize rising levels of crime rate.”

Attorney General Anthony Kamanga said the study by the Malawi Law Commission on the capital punishment revealed that the majority of Malawians want the law to be implemented.

“The majority of the people in Malawi still think that we should retain the death penalty. It is very emotive issue not only in Malawi. We have countries that abolished death penalty but there has been public pressure to bring it back,” he said.

He said capital punishment was still legal in the country’s statutes despite lack of political will to sign death warrants for particular inmates on death row.

However, he pointed out that capital punishment was not mandatory as the court could still impose it on offenders but it waits for the Head of State to sign a warrant of execution or not.

The secretary general of the Ulama Council of Malawi warned that dropping death penalty has galvanized criminals who were no longer facing gallows.

“Our stand as Muslims is that capital punishment should be enforced to ensure that this country is safe from criminals who are on the prowl. All sectors of the society are of the view that this clause of the constitution provides hope to this country which has now descended into almost state of lawlessness,” said Shareef.

“During previous constitutional conferences, delegates from across all sectors of Malawi society protested against any attempts to have the clause removed, fearing that lawlessness would become a norm in the country. Therefore, by not signing any death warrants, besides breaking the law, our presidents are also going against the wishes of the people they are governing.”

Shareef said those in authority should strive to uphold the constitution which they swore to protect and at the same time they should respect the sanctity of life of those in the majority who are feeling the consequences of their lack of willingness to enforce death penalty for dangerous criminals.

The Muslims call for death penalty is in sharp contrast with the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Christian community that is officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a “Church public lay association” which calls for the country to abolish the death penalty because it is barbaric and inhuman.

Human rights campaigners also call the death penalty as the ultimate denial of human rights.

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