Members of Parliament (MPs) are divided over the report of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on the Criminal Offences Amendment Act, which seeks to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment.
Although the death penalty was inherited from the colonial administration as a punishment for murder, attempted murder, genocide, piracy, and smuggling of gold or diamonds, Ghana has not signed a death warrant for the execution of offenders since 1993.
While debating the amendment bill, the lawmakers expressed divergent views on the abolishment of the death penalty.
MP for Zebilla Constituency, Cletus Avoka said “I first submit that the arguments they have advanced in terms of the motion are very scary and have no measures at all. Arguments in favour of the motion are unmeritorious.”
MP for Madina and proponent of the amendment, Francis-Xavier Sosu noted that “since the attainment of independence in 1957, Ghana has executed 49 persons either by firing squad or by hanging and most of those executions mainly happened during military regimes.”
“The current position of Ghana is that we are abolitionists in practice. This is so because since 1993 to date, Ghana has not signed a death warrant to execute anyone and that is very commendable.”
Builsa North MP, James Agalga and Second Deputy Majority Whip, Habib Iddrisu made a correction that “we cannot count universal declaration on human rights a part of our treaty obligations with the greatest of respect. The universal declarations on human rights are declarations, they are non-binding, and so they do not quality for a treaty.”