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Death penalty abolished in Zambia

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The decision to repeal two British colonial-era laws—the death penalty and making criticism of the government a criminal offense—was greeted by Zambian rights campaigners as a “major milestone” on Saturday.

If elected president, President Hakainde Hichilema, whose party has been in opposition for more than 20 years, had pledged to revoke the laws.

According to a statement released on Friday by the presidential spokesman, Anthony Bwalya, “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.”

Brebner Changala, a human rights activist, called the choice a “major milestone in the eradication of colonial laws that do not fit in the democratic dispensation of the country.”

Zambians would now be able to speak freely, according to Caroline Katotobwe, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue.

“As stakeholders, we are thrilled that this oppressive law has been abolished. As a result, citizens can share their opinions without worrying about being punished, as was the situation in the past, she stated.

In 1964, Zambia won its freedom from British domination. There are 18 million people living in the country of southern Africa.

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