Zambia President, Hakainde Hichilema, has fulfilled one of his campaign promises by abolishing the death penalty in the country as well as repealing a defamation act which recommended jail term for anyone who criticized the President and top government officials.
While campaigning for office, Hichilema had promised that he would scrap the death penalty if elected and on Friday, he sign an edict which ended the practice which was promulgated by the British colonial government.
“President Hakainde Hichilema has assented to the penal code of 2022 abolishing the imposition of the death penalty and the offence of criminal defamation of the president, which has been on the Zambian statute books since (the) pre-independence era,” presidential spokesman Anthony Bwalya said in a statement.
A top Zambian human rights activist, Brebner Changala, who welcomed the decision, said it was a “huge milestone in the removal of colonial laws that do not fit in the democratic dispensation of the country.”
Also reacting to the announcement, the executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue Caroline Katotobwe, said Zambians would now speak freely.
“As stakeholders we are elated that this repressive law is finally done away with. Thus, allowing citizens to freely express their views without fear of prosecution as was the case in the past,” she said.