Kyambalesa urges referendum for capital punishment


US based Zambian academician Henry Kyambalesa has observed need for a fundamental redress in the manner capital punishment is administered in Zambia.

Mr. Kyambalesa is of the view that such redress should be of any apparent inadequacies in the country’s criminal justice system so that punishment can be administered fairly and impartially.


In his recent paper titled ‘Should Zambia Abolish the Death Penalty?’ made available to Qfm News, Mr. Kyambalesa has urged Zambia to emulate the US where capital punishment is administered with reasonable consistency, in accordance with the due process of law, with minimum or no risk of executing innocent people, and upon an objective and exhaustive assessment of circumstances leading to the commission of murder.


Mr. Kyambalesa is however mindful that such expectations on the other hand cannot easily be met in poor countries, pseudo democracies, and totalitarian states worldwide.

He states that it would, therefore, be important for each and every government whose penal code provides for the death penalty to constitute an ad hoc panel of local legal experts to determine whether or not its criminal justice system meets the foregoing expectations.

Mr. Kyambalesa is suggesting that if the penal or criminal justice system is found to be wanting, law makers in the country would need to seriously consider the prospect of placing a moratorium on capital punishment.


He says this entails commuting the prison sentences of any individuals who are currently on the death row to life imprisonment with or without the possibility of parole, and to decide on modalities for periodic reviews of the moratorium.


The US based academician thinks that capital punishment should be reserved for cases involving the taking of another person’s life, and should be abolished for all other serious crimes, such as espionage and treason.


He has also listed economic sabotage, large-scale drug trafficking, aggravated robbery, and other felonies that do not involve the taking or loss of human life as other crimes for which capital punishment should be abolished.

Mr. Kyambalesa however notes that a decision on whether or not capital punishment should be abolished in any State or country needs to be made by residents or the citizenry through a referendum designed specifically for this purpose.