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Friday, 20 April 2012

Death Penalty, 5th Edition

The death penalty debate is back as the deplorable conditions of prisoners came to fore following VP Scott's visit to Mukobeko. Times of Zambia have been quick off the block:
On a larger scale, the Constitution Technical Committee should ensure that the ambivalence in the Constitution is harmonised. Part Three of the Constitution on the Bill of Rights is clear on the need to preserve life; the right to life. It is against human rights and also against the law to take away another person’s life; capital punishment should be abolished. This contradiction should be sorted out.
But this is sprinting blindly! If what is stated is true then Zambia would never fight any war or kill anyone if invaded. Indeed, why are individuals permitted in law to kill criminals who try and take their lives? Why have a right to self defence at all? Why maintain national security at all costs? The answer is that the right to life can be forfeited! There are perfectly good reasons why some people are killed by the State. Indeed, the law provides for certain instances when individuals are within their right to kill. That is not contradictions, it is logical. 

The point here surely is that simply arguing that we should abolish the death penalty because killing is against human rights is not good enough! Better reasons are needed. That is not to say such reasons don't exist. We are simply saying the reason offered by the Times is not a good one.

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