Zambia abolishes death penalty – head of state approves new penal code

Zambia has decided to abolish the death penalty. Head of state Hakainde Hichilema has approved the country’s new penal code, said presidential spokesman Anthony Bwalya. The offense of “defamation of the president” will also be abolished.

Hichilema, a longtime opposition politician, was elected president of Zambia in August 2021. During the election campaign, he had promised to fight corruption, which was rampant in the country, and to promote the economy.

The peaceful transfer of power between his predecessor Lungu and Hichilema was seen internationally as a hopeful sign. Zambia, which is located in southern Africa and has a population of 18 million, gained its independence from the colonial power Great Britain in 1964.

The chairwoman of Zambia’s Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) research center, Caroline Katotobwe, said the abolition of the “repressive” offense of “defamation of the president” allows citizens to “express their opinions freely and without fear of prosecution.”