Death penalty is barbaric
Death penalty is barbaric. So unequivocally declared Baba wa Taifa, the late Mwalim Julius Kambarage Nyerere at one time. At that time no one would have expected to hear a dissenting voice and indeed there was none.
It is understood that during his time as the President of this country he signed only two death warrant, one of which was in effect a political decision that had perhaps to be taken.
Mwamwindi of Iringa had to die if only because he had the temerity, the folly, to kill, or possibly, assassinate a political figure of high standing. Some opinion was floating about at that time that the killing committed by Mwamindi was simply some criminality and had little or nothing to do with the politics of the day.
The killer was simply an ignorant peasant farmer who was, in fact, apolitical. Be that as it may, the late Mwalim did find it appropriate to sign the death warrant, his loathing of capital punishment notwithstanding. However, it must be said that at that time there were perhaps a few of small time politicians who were of the opinion that the killer, Mwamindi, deserved some compassionate consideration.
He had given himself up to the Police station where he had also delivered the dead body of the victim. Certainly, they averred, there was no malice afore thought in the horrible act. The opinion was that a life sentence would have been a lot more agonising whereas the agony must have disappeared in a flash once the death sentence was carried out.
There were also those who ventured to suggest that the Mwalimu’s stature would have assumed a tinge of messianic proportions had he reduced the punishment to life imprisonment. It would appear though the political colouring if the killing was overwhelming.
Be that as it may; the fact of the matter was that despite his expressed distaste of capital punishment he did not, out of purely political sentiments, want to spare the life of Mwamwindi.
However, despite what could have been certainly a matter of expedience on his part, one should agree with the late Mwalim Julius Kambarage Nyerere that capital punishment is barbaric. That kind of sentiment is wide spread around the world.
Such opinion had been expressed in earlier writings to the press. Being but a minion in the world of public opinion those views have invariably been ignored. But not by everyone who have read the submissions.
A few have had the benevolence of letting know that they have read the submissions such that once or twice they have said in no uncertain terms that only a heretic could expressed those views. They did no like what they had read and had no qualms telling off in no uncertain terms that only a heretic could express such opinion on the death penalty.
Apparently, Islam edicts that a murderer who has been convicted of an unlawful killing in a properly constituted court of law, must be executed. The Qur’an, as everyone knows, is sacrosanct, certainly to Muslims and this author subscribes to the teaching of the Qur’an and the Hadith one hundred per cent.
Hence anyone who preaches something different or suggests anything that contradicts that holy book is a heretic. Notwithstanding this author is does offer that suggestion yet is not for two simple reasons.
While indeed the Qur’an expressly edicts that anyone who has been convicted of murder, premeditated murder or not and the law court has been satisfied that the man is indeed guilty must (yes MUST) be executed. The aya (verse) in the Qur’an is unequivocal as such there are no two ways about it. The convicted murderer be executed; but must he die? It is worth remembering that Islamic jurisprudence allows for some alternatives.
It had happened in Saudi Arabia that a convicted murderer was let go free while at the point of being executed. He already was on the block the sheikh had recited the last prayers and the executioner was ready to execute his duty. At that point the father of the victim of the murder was at hand to witness the retribution.
At that critical time though the father appeared to have been overcome by a strong impulse that, one would speculate, that spelled “REPRIEVE” in capital letters. He shouted at the executioner and the officialdom that was around “Allahu Akbar. I forgive him”. Truly the convict was let go free. This means that those who are wronged exercised clemency and the law set the