Abolish death penalty-petitioner

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A resident of Luangwa district has petitioned the Legal and Justice Sector Reforms Commission to remove a clause in the constitution that provides for a death sentence on convicts of capital offences.

Chikota Milamba, a middle aged man of Feira told the commission that in order to uphold the preamble of the country’s constitution which declares Zambia as a Christian nation, there was need to remove the death penalty in the constitution.

Mr. Milamba stated that the death penalty is against both the bible and the human rights conventions which Zambia has ratified.

He said Zambia should be governed on the biblical principles because it is a Christian nation saying the right to terminate life should be left to God  and not a fellow human being.

He added that the laws of Zambia should be in conformity with the bible which is a guide for Christianity.

Mr. Milamba urged the commission to reject what he called unbiblical submissions by some people   who he said are calling for the inclusion of unnatural practices such as homosexuality and lesbianism in the constitution.

He stated that he has been following the commission’s public sittings with keen interest and noticed that supporters of unnatural practices were allowed to submit which he said was b ad for a Christian nation.

The preamble of the Constitution of Zambia declares the country as a Christian nation but upholds the rights of every person to enjoy that person’s freedom of conscience or religion.

The constitution also upholds the human rights and fundamental freedoms of every person and recognizes the equal worth of communities in the country.

But in the bill of rights the same constitution provides that a person may be deprived of life if that person has been convicted of a capital offence and sentenced to death.

It however justifies that a person shall not be deprived of life intentionally except to the extent authorized by the constitution or any other law.

Meanwhile , Transparency International Zambia Executive Director Lee Habasonda wondered what would happen to some citizens of Zambia who belong to other religions other than Christianity if the constitution ceases to recognize them.

Mr. Habasonda stated that besides being a Christian nation, the constitution is also in order to recognize the rights of Zambians who belong to other religions.

The legal and Justice Sector Reform conducted a one day public sitting in Luangwa district where 17 petitioners made their submissions.

The Commission is expected to hold similar sittings in Chongwe district tomorrow and later next week in Chirundu and Kafue districts.