A cross section of society has commended President Hakainde Hichilema for abolishing the death penalty.
Church mother bodies, traditional leaders and members of the public have told the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in separate interviews that they are in full support of the move by President Hakainde Hichilema to abolish the death penalty.
A Kalingalinga resident Oscar Sakavuba says abolishing the death penalty shows respect for humanity.
Mr Sakavuba said the move taken by President Hichilema and his government to abolish the Death Penalty is highly commendable and should be supported by all well-meaning Zambians.
“Abolishing the death penalty is a good move and shows the respect that the President has for humanity,” said Mr Sakavuba.
A random check around the city of Lusaka revealed that the move to abolish the death penalty has been well received.
Others have said not everyone who has been convicted and sentenced to death by the courts of law really committed the offence to deserve a death penalty.
Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) General Secretary Emmanuel Chikoya says the church fully support President Hakainde Hichilema for taking a bold step to abolish the death penalty.
Reverend Chikoya told ZANIS at State House yesterday during a Luncheon to celebrate the abolishment of the death penalty.
He said the church has always believed in a God that gives people another chance saying when one is condemned to death by hanging it means such a person is beyond redemption, and cannot be corrected.
Reverend Chikoya said it is good that President Hichilema has taken a move to abolish the death penalty in the country because the church has always been preaching about it saying it is good that finally the Zambian people are celebrating the abolishing of death penalty.
“We are happy as a church that today we have gathered at State House to celebrate the abolishing death penalty in the country. This is a huge milestone achievement for the country, towards upholding of human rights and human dignity,” said Reverend Chikoya.
Reverend Chikoya says abolishing the death penalty is line with major reforms that the country has made in the past like the transformation of the Zambia Prisons to Zambia Correctional Services so that those convicted can be transformed to good citizens.
Independent Churches of Zambia (ICZ) President David Masupa is also in support of the abolishment of the death penalty said he is happy with the move taken by President Hichilema.
Bishop Masupa says the church has always condemned death penalty and it is good that President Hichilema has finally abolished it.
“We are happy with the move taken and we commend the President of the republic of Zambia for deciding to abolish death penalty in the country,” said Bishop Masupa.
And Chief Mukuni of Kazungula district said he fully supports President Hichilema for the move taken to abolish the death penalty.
“Am happy that today we are here at State House to celebrate the abolishing death penalty. I fully support the move taken by President Hichilema to abolish death penalty, “said Chief Mukuni.
However, the abolished offense of criminal defamation of the President has not been fully supported.
Reverend Chikoya says even if the law on defamation of the President has been amended, there is need for Zambian citizens to respect the presidency.
He said there is need to respect the presidency because the person occupying that seat is voted in by citizens saying even the Bible teaches about respect for elders.
And Chief Mukuni says people should not abuse the right to freedom to insult leaders while a Kalingalinga Youth, Sakavuba, said people who insult the President should think twice not to abuse their rights to freedom of speech.
Sakavuba says even criticizing the office of the presidency,should be done with maturity and respect.
President Hakainde Hichilema yesterday held a luncheon at State House to celebrate the abolishment of the death penalty.
Zambia’s last execution took place in 1997 but some 250 people were still on death row as of 2021, including nine newly sentenced.
Human Rights Commission (HRC), in reacting to the abolition of the death penalty, said the repeal of the laws will improve Zambia‘s human rights record following increased arrests of political opponents.