St Egidio, Nkhata-Bay people for death penalty abolition

People of Nkhata-Bay have joined the Community of Saint Egidio in calling for the abolition of the death penalty in Malawi.

This was revealed on Thursday in Nkhata-Bay when members of the Community of Saint Egidio under the Roman Catholic Church engaged chiefs, youths and other members of the society to analyse merits and demerits of the death sentence among Malawians.

The meeting was taking place with just four days before the World Day Against Death Penalty which falls on 10th October every year. Reports show that 70% of countries under the United Nations (UN) including the United States of America and South Africa abolished the death penalty way back.

One member of the Community of Saint Egidio, Crief Daniel, told Nyasa Times it was important for people to have information on pertinent issues regarding the law so that they make informed decisions and push those decisions to their Members of Parliament who have the mandate amend or even abolish some of the laws governing the country.

“We believe people have the right to information. People should understand the rights they have including the right to life. These people have an obligation to present pressing issues to their parliamentarians so that the MPs can in turn act on those issues in the August House. This bottom up approach is very important in a democracy.

“As Community of Saint of Egidio, we intend to reach more people in all districts in the northern region. Our brothers and sisters are doing the same in the central and southern regions of Malawi. We are very hopeful of winning this fight. We look forward to the time when the death penalty will be abolished,” explained Daniel.

Director of Administration at Nkhata-Bay District Council, John Bosco Baluti who was representing the District Commissioner, told Nyasa Times Saint Egidio had the right to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.

“Our laws will always go through amendments and Saint Egidio has the right to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. This meeting was quite important as it is helpful in initiating some changes in the constitution that will stand for the common good of Malawians in maintaining the right to life,” he said.

Moses Chaputula, a Magistrate in Nkhata-Bay, explained that the death penalty strips all other rights from a human being besides the right to life, saying all the rights are enjoyed when one is alive.
“Life is a basis of all human rights. Government and all individuals are mandated to protect the rights of every individual including institutional rights. It is therefore not good to still have the death penalty in our laws because it impinges many other human rights,” remarked Magistrate Chaputula.

Emily Kaunda who was present at the meeting said Nkhata-Bay as a district does not need the death penalty.

“There have been incidents of people killing each other here in Nkhata-Bay on allegations that one has also killed another. This death sentence should be abolished because there are people who may become victims when they did not actually kill someone,” she said.

Since the dawn of multiparty democracy in Malawi, no president has ever signed for execution of anyone but the death penalty is still intact in the Malawi constitution.

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