Bill to scrap punishment
Posted Monday, March 11 2013 at 02:00
Arrangements to enforce a Supreme Court decision that declared the death sentence unconstitutional have been finalised, activists have said.
In 2009, the country’s appellate court decided on appeal that mandatory death sentence is inconsistent with the Constitution.
But Mr Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), argued that the proposed law, coming by way of private member’s Bill, seeks to reduce on the number of offences which attract the death sentence.
In Uganda, punishment by death is still held on a number of offences, including defilement, murder, aggravated robbery, rape, treason, smuggling and acts of terrorism.
“The bill forms part of the process to enforce the court order because the penalty is still made available on some offences. We are saying that death sentence should only be exceptional and in serious circumstances,” said Mr Sewanyana.
Speaking at the sixth annual inter-university human rights debate competition at the Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Mr Sewanyana asked legislators to consider revising the offences leading to the punishment.
He said there is need to promote multiparty democracy, accountability through legislative advocacy, human rights monitoring and reporting as well as leadership development of human rights defenders.
Ms Jovah Kamateka, the chairperson of the Human Rights Committee of Parliament, who commended the rights activists for what she described as ‘grooming a knowledgeable generation,’ however, said there is need for wider consultations before the bill is presented.
“Death penalty has been deterrent, that is why we want the communities to first accept and agree on the scrapping of the punishment before a law can be enacted,” she said.