ZAMBIA’S PRESIDENT HAKAINDE HICHILEMA announced on Friday 23 December 2022 that he had assented to a law banning the death penalty, and quashing the offence of criminal defamation of the president.

Responding to the announcement,  Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa said: “Amnesty International welcomes the announcement by President Hichilema that the death penalty has been abolished in Zambia. This is a good and progressive move that shows the country’s commitment to protecting the right to life. We also commend President Hichilema for quashing the offence of criminal defamation of the president, used until recently to muzzle free speech and unjustifiably limit freedom of expression in the country.

“With the abolition, Zambia [becomes] the 25th country in sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. Zambia’s decision to ban the death penalty should serve as an example to countries in the region that still use the death penalty and compel them to take immediate steps to end this cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment and protect the right to life.”

There have been important steps towards abolition across Southern Africa in recent years. Angola, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, and South Africa have all abolished the death penalty.

* Read Amnesty International’s latest report on the death penalty around the world here.

* Source: Amnesty International