death inmates and human rights activists have renewed their calls to the
government to abolish the death penalty. The activists argue that the death
penalty does not accord the convicts chance to reform or be rehabilitated
compared to jail time.
Justine Nankya, who spent 14 years on death row in
Luzira prisons, says that the sentence did not only affect her but her family
and the community around her. Nankya says that she was imprisoned for
aggravated violence that was committed by her brother who disappeared but the
punishment deterred her children from accessing education and led to the death
of her parents due to sorrow.
She explains that it was a very painful moment
for her. “If I was not strong, I would have run mad. Sending me to death, I was
already dead, and at the time I was sentenced to death and I suffered isolation
and it took time to ask myself if I really committed any offence because there
was no way they could send me to suffer death since there was no witness,"
in: “okutta omuntu…
out:..tekirina kye kyongerako…//
While commending the Uganda prisons for the care
offered to her during her 25 years in prison, Nankya appealed to the government
to abolish the death penalty, saying that it does not add value to the system
of punishing people in conflict with the law.
Godfrey Bbaale spent 9 years on death row and
was released in 2016. He says that the country does not need the death penalty
because it affects people convicted due to different circumstances.
studied from prison and obtained two diplomas said: “From the death row, we
studied and we are now assets to the country. It is important to have a chance
whether you committed the offence or not. Death as a punishment is not good, it
is better to replace it with life imprisonment.”
The former death row inmates and activists
were speaking during the commemoration of the
19th World Day Against the Death penalty in Kampala. The Uganda
Coalition against the death penalty in partnership with Foundation for Human Rights
Initiative – FHRI organized the event under the theme: “Women Sentenced to
death an invisible reality.”
There are 128 death row inmates, three of them
women. Three of the death row inmates have completed their appeal process and
are awaiting the hangman. Uganda has not had an execution in the last 20
Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, the Executive Director of FHRI
wants the government to invest more effort in deterring crime.
He asked those
involved in the administration of justice to stop f sentencing women convicted
for capital offences to death citing their vulnerability. He said that women
are vulnerable in nature yet they have a very important role in the family and
the society as a whole.
//Cue in: “And when these…
Cue out:..…meted on them,”//
Instead of the death penalty, Dr. Sewanyana suggested that women
get a life sentence, which is more effective in deterring crime. He explains
that imprisons accords convicts an opportunity to learn and be role models in
their societies, unlike death where there is no opportunity to reform.
Frank Baine, the Spokesperson of the Uganda Prisons Service,
said that they support the campaign against the death penalty because the
institution is mandated to reform and not to kill. He said that they would be
glad if the death penalty is remitted to life imprisonment such that the
convicts can work since death row inmates do not work
//Cue in: “We have always…
Cue out:… we use them,”//
The World Day Against the Death Penalty is observed every
year on October 10. It unifies the global abolitionist movement and mobilizes
civil society, political leaders, lawyers and public opinion. The day
encourages and consolidates the political and general awareness of the worldwide
movement against the death penalty.
Uganda is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR), which restricts the application of the death
penalty to the most serious crimes under Article 6(2).