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Mokgweetsi Masisi in parliament
President Mokgweetsi Masisi in parliament, photo by New China News Agency
BotswanaPolitics

Botswana: President Masisi’s first year in office marred by executions

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President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s first year in office has been characterized by a steep rise in executions, with four people put to death since his inauguration, Amnesty International reported.

The alarming rise in executions under President Mokgweetsi Masisi has cast a chilling shadow over his presidency. Since President Masisi was sworn into office a year ago, four people have been hanged, taking away their right to life,

Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa

“By continuing to sign execution warrants, President Masisi is showing a disregard for the right to life and bucking the regional and global trend against the ultimate cruel and inhumane punishment.”

Botswana recorded its first execution under President Mokgweetsi Masisi in December 2019, barely a month after he came to office, with the hanging of Mooketsi Kgosibodiba, who had been on death row since 2017. In February 2020, Mmika Michael Mpe was hanged, and Moabi Seabelo Mabiletsa and Matshidiso Tshid Boikanyo were hanged in March.

“President Masisi has missed an opportunity to break the cycle of executions in Botswana and demonstrate that justice can be delivered without using the death penalty. There is no evidence that the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime,” said Deprose Muchena.

Justice is not served by executing people, and the world is moving away from this abhorrent and degrading form of punishment 

Deprose Muchena

Amnesty International called on Botswana to, pending the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes, immediately establish and official moratorium on executions.

Background

The death penalty is still applied for murder in Botswana, and Botswana is the only country in southern Africa that continues to carry out executions.

Botswana has been urged to abandon the use of the death penalty by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, which reiterated that: “it [the death penalty] constitutes a violation of Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter), which specifically prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of the right to life”.

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