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Zimbabwe’s Police Beat Up Opposition MDC Supporters



Zimbabwean Police beat up opposition Movement for Democratic Supporters supporters in November 2019.

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We must revisit Capital Punishment in the aftermath of the Botswana Execution

Two-thirds of the World’s States no longer retain the death sentence



hang rope
By Lenin Tinashe Chisaira

I admit I oppose the death sentence. Meanwhile, on Monday, Botswana executed 44-year-old Mooketsi Kgosibodida despite a global outcry. News24 reported that Mooketsi was hanged at Gaborone Central prison. This the first execution carried out by the Southern African State since the election of President Mokgweetsi Masisi in October 2019. Mooketsi was convicted for a 2012 killing of his boss. He was sentenced to death in 2017 and lost an appeal in 2018.

Botswana has been condemned in the past for being the only Southern African State hat still consistently executes people, according to Amnesty International.

Botswana and the Death Sentences

A few days before the execution, Amnesty International, in a statement, urged President Masisi to reconsider the death penalty ion Botswana.

‘Mr Masisi has a chance to immediately demonstrate strong leadership by abolishing the death penalty. Justice is not served by executing people, and the world is moving away from this abhorrent and degrading form of punishment. There is no space for the death penalty in a country like Botswana, which has demonstrated a great leadership role on some difficult political issues, including by denouncing impunity for human rights violations on the African continent’ said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa in the statement.

Botswana has been in the spotlight for several years with regards to the death penalty. The most famous case on capital punishment in the State involved South African immigrant Mariette Bosch who was found guilty of  murdering her lover’s wife on 26 June 1996. Bosch was executed on 31 March 2001 after her appeal failed. Press reports at the time expose that Botswana doesn’t offer the traditional last meals nor sedatives for prisoners facing execution.

The Problem with Death Penalties

So, what’s wrong with capital punishment?

 Well, there are many problems with it.

Sentencing a person to death seems to make society ok with the killing of human beings by human beings. As a lawyer, I am well aware that no legal or judicial system is watertight, chances of wrongful conviction are high. And yet, with capital punishment, even if mistakes are discovered later, it may be too late to correct the situation. Justice is also expensive, having a ‘bad’ lawyer can result in an innocent person going to the gallows.

Also, some of us come from States with unstable political systems, there is a high chance that capital punishment may be used to settle political scores.

The death penalty is contacted in a constrained space where the prisoner cannot escape. This is a form of psychological torture, especially considering the period one may have spent on death row.

Activists and human rights groups have consistently campaigned against the death penalty.  These campaigns have had considerable success in some instances. There is the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mumia is a former Black Panther Party and MOVE activist. He was sentenced to death for the killing os a police officer. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment without parole after campaigns.

Two-Thirds of States in the World Do not Have Capital Punishment

Two-thirds of the World’s States no longer retain the death sentence. Amnesty International’s List of Abolitionist and Retentionist States (as of July 2018) lists Botswana among the remaining one-third of States and territories that retain the death penalty even for ordinary crimes. This retentionist list includes the African States such as Botswana, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Worldwide the retentionist States include Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, China, Cuba, Dominica, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine (State of), Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad And Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States Of America, Viet Nam and Yemen.

About one-third of  States maintain capital punishment, however. According to the Amnesty International report,  of the third that have not yet abolished the death penalty, there are a few States whose laws provide for the death penalty only for exceptional crimes such as crimes under military law or crimes committed in exceptional circumstances. Burkina Faso is the single African States in this category.

There are also States that retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes such as murder but can be considered abolitionist in practice in that they have not executed anyone during the past 10 years. These are believed to have a policy or established practise of not carrying out executions. The list also includes countries which have made an international commitment not to use the death penalty. The African States in this category are Algeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco/Western Sahara, Niger, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia.

Botswana looks set to remain on the death penalty retention list.

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Death Penalty

Egypt: Court sentences 7 to death over killing policemen

Egypt has seen worrisome crackdown on opposition forces and militants especially following the military overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.



The Cairo Criminal Court in Egypt on Monday 25 November 2019 sentenced seven people to death. This was in connection with 2015/ killings of eleven policemen, including eight killed in a microbus. The charges also included joining a terrorist group and possession of weapons and explosives.

The Court also sentenced 18 people  to jail with terms varying between 10-15 years while seven people were found not guilty.

The accused persons are alleged to have formed a terrorist cell for assassinating police men in Helwan City.

The verdicts can be appealed however.

Egypt has seen worrisome crackdown on opposition forces and militants especially following the military overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. Morsi himself died in court in June 2019.

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