Death penalty must go, says Malembeka


THERE is need to abolish the death penalty not only because Zambia is a Christian nation but the law is archaic and does not fit in the current prison module of corrections, says Prisons   Care and Counselling Association (PRISCA) executive director Godfrey Malembeka. In an interview yesterday, Dr Malembeka said that as much as the organisation did not support the crimes committed by people on death row, they were human beings who deserved a second chance at life and that the time was right for the country to abolish the death penalty. He said that although former presidents, among them Rupiah Banda, Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa and the current President Edgar Lungu had not permitted the use of the death penalty, there was need to completely do away with it. Dr Malembeka said that the death penalty was not the only mechanism that could help deter would-be offenders but that sentences, suspended sentences, community service, rehabilitation and correction were equally effective. ‘‘As much as we do not support crimes committed by them we believe they are human and deserve a second chance at life and other forms of deterrence such as correction, rehabilitation and sentences are equally effective,’’ he said.  He said that he was excited with what the Government had done to make prisons as correctional facilities but stated that there was still need for the full decentralisation of the criminal justice system as some accused persons had been in detention for more than eight years without appearing in court.