Death of Death Penalty in Ghana

Recommended reading for those interested in the pros and cons of the death penalty.
(webmaster FVDK)

Death of the death penalty in Ghana

Published: November 3, 2022
By: Prosper Andre Batinge – Graphic Online, Ghana

For some time now, Ghanaian penal advocates tracking liberal global criminal justice crusaders have been trying to kill the death penalty with only near successes.

The real chance at abolishing the death penalty in Ghana emerged in the case of Dexter Johnson v the Republic [2011] 1 SCGLR 601. But a majority decision of Ghana’s Supreme Court, against the spirited protestations of the minority, especially Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah (as he then was), declined and passed the buck to Parliament.

In throwing the ball from the Supreme Court to the chambers of Parliament, then Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah (now the Chief Justice of Ghana) wrote: “I am aware that the death penalty has been abolished in other jurisdictions, especially in the Commonwealth countries.

“I would, like my brother Dotse JSC, advocate statutory intervention like other jurisdictions where they have degrees of murder instead of judicial intervention by way of interpretation.” [Dexter Johnson at 703.]

Bills

Parliament now has a clear chance to abolish the death penalty. The Madina Constituency lawmaker, Mr Francis-Xavier Sosu, is a front advocate of the Death Penalty Bills: The Criminal and Other Offences (Amendment) Act 1960 (Act 29) and the Armed Forces (Amendment) Act 1962 (Act 105).

These Bills seek to amend sections 46, 49, 49a, 180, 194 and 317a of Act 29 and sections 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 40, 78, and 79 of Act 105. The Bills were gazzetted on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

These Bills seek to abolish the death penalty for ordinary offences, still leaving in the purgatory of the death penalty those convicted of serious crimes like High Treason and Treason.

Cruel

Ghana has not executed anybody convicted and sentenced to the death penalty since 1993. In strict terms and in practice thus Ghana appears not a death penalty state.

But the nation’s trial courts continue to impose the death penalty on persons upon conviction. Some 165 convicted persons were on the death row at the end of 2021; the number is now more than 170.

The death penalty offends the right to life etched in crucial human rights conventions, covenants, and declarations.

The death penalty also offends African customary law. Ubuntu was influential in abolishing the death penalty in South Africa. The South African Constitutional Court in S v Makwanyane held that the death penalty violated the right to human dignity, underscoring that the right to dignity was an integral part of ubuntu.

The death penalty is too cruel and has proven parallel to the values of evolved human sensibilities. The death penalty appears a relic of backward societies of a backward era.

The psychological torture to people on death row is immense. They wait for the never-arriving day of their execution. Some have taken their own lives during this uncertain period of waiting.

As well, the psychological effect of the death penalty on executing officers is no less tormenting. The introduction of so-called mercy killing such as injecting convicts to die peacefully and painlessly has not lessen the cruelty of the practice on both the victim and the killer.

Innocent people – not infrequently – are accused, convicted, and executed for crimes, of which they are not culpable. Fairly recently, Mr Emmanuel Tetteh was released from prison after he was wrongfully sentenced to death for murder. He did 33 years behind bars. At his release, he was 75 years.

The case against abolishing the death sentence, therefore, often makes both theoretical and common sense. But on few occasions, the argument against the death penalty is difficult to advance with clear conscience in a society of persistence instances of ritual murders.

Some of our compatriots believe that they can sacrifice their fellow human beings for money, and they, according to allegations too numerous to ignore, kill others with the hope of attaining wealth.

Some of the victims of ritual murders are young citizens in their prime with full potential of their lives in front of them, promising lives cut painfully short by evil people. It is with pain that I still believe and argue that even a ritual murderer ought not to suffer the death penalty.

Parliament

Writing for the majority in the case of Dexter Johnson supra, Justice Jones Dotse (as he then was) opined that “the time has possibly come for the Parliament of Ghana to seriously consider whether to have a policy shift in the mandatory death penalty regime imposed on those convicted of murder.” {[2011] 1 SCGLR 601 at 702.}

More than a full decade after the Supreme Court’s indication, and after years of campaigns to end the death penalty, Parliament appears willing to kill the death penalty in the case of ordinary crimes.

As Parliament commences a new session of its lawmaking duties last Tuesday, October 25, 2022, it should ensure that the death penalty ends with the end of the Third Meeting of the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

The writer is a lawyer/doctoral fellow at Fordham Law School, N.Y., USA: 
E-mail: pbatinge@fordham.edu

Source: Death of Death Penalty in Ghana

Uganda: why human sacrifices still thrive in Kayunga District

Many of my postings on this site refer to reported or suspected ritual murder cases in West Africa. However, this phenomenon dating from ancient times also exists in other regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. Superstition and the greed for power, wealth or good health constitute the main driving forces behind the crimes of ritual murder, human sacrifice and/or ritual cannibalism.

In East Africa ritualistic murders are rife in Uganda. As mentioned below, according to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations Report, one child is killed for rituals every week. A mind blowing statistic. Within Uganda the Kayunga District has earned the dubious reputation of being one of the most notorious killing places. Read the breath taking article below; the reader is warned as it contains graphic details.

Uganda is one of an increasing number of SSA countries where human sacrifice and ritualistic murders have become crimes which carry the death penalty. Many countries and international initiatives have outlawed the capital punishment, but several African countries take a different course, notably to contain and/or eradicate ritual murders. The big question is whether the death penalty, which is not always executed, will bring us closer to a society where people no longer fear falling victim to ritual killers. Or should we look for another approach the eradicate this scourge of ignorance and superstition?

PS For an interesting plea to abolish the death penalty the reader is invited to read the following article: ‘Death of Death Penalty in Ghana‘ or click here.
(webmaster FVDK)

Why human sacrifices still thrive in Kayunga

A suspect digs up a place where he claimed to have buried a child in Kayunga District last year. PHOTO/FRED MUZAALE

Published: November 11, 2022
By: Fred Muzaale – Monitor, Uganda

What you need to know:

  • Police say most victims of human sacrifices are children because they are easier to abduct and seen as “pure” and of “higher ritual value.”
  • Last year, President Museveni passed the Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill 2021, which criminalises the act of human sacrifice.

————————————————————————————————————–

On a hot Monday afternoon at Kayunga Court premises in Kayunga District, Allan Ssembatya walks with his head lowered. 

Visibly not in a good mood, he is in the company of a man and a woman. The two grown-ups are his mother and father.

The 19-year-old Ssembatya’s forehead bares a big scar that he sustained after he was cut with a machete by two men during an attempted ritual murder incident in 2009. He was by then 6 years old.
Fortunately, Ssembatya, now in Senior One, survived, but lost both of his testicles. Because of the cut inflicted on his head, he now has persistent headaches and nightmares.

A resident of Busolo Village in Kayunga Sub-county, Ssembatya spent one month in a coma after the incident.

“Doctors who examined him after the attack said he would not be able to bear children. This is purely a case of human sacrifice,” Ms Sarah Tumusiime, the Kayunga Chief Magistrate, revealed during a court session last month.

She sentenced the convicts; Paul Ngaswireki and Awali Kivumbi, both residents of Busolo Village, who were found guilty of committing the offence, to 40 years each in prison.

According to Ssembatya’s father, his son was attacked by the two men when he had gone to the garden to harvest a jackfruit. He was later left fighting for his life in a forest.

Ssembatya’s case is the latest among such incidents, but Kayunga District has had numerous human sacrifice-related incidents.

In March 2020, a 60-year-old man in Kakoola Village, Kitimbwa Sub-county, was beheaded and his head taken by unknown assailants.

The torso was later recovered from a bush. Two witch doctors were arrested in connection with this incident although the whereabouts of the human skull is still unknown.

Additionally, a traditional healer in Kisoga Village, Nazigo Sub-county, was arrested in 2018 after five bodies were found buried in his shrine. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by Mukono High Court.

Last year, a father in Bbaale Sub-county was arrested after he allegedly killed two of his children over ritual sacrifice. He confessed to the act claiming he was promised Shs2m.

Ms Beatrice Ajwang, the Kayunga District officer-in-charge of the Criminal Investigations Department, said most of the suspects arrested in connection with such acts are “traditional healers and people who want to get rich quickly”.

Ms Ajwang said most victims of human sacrifices are children, apparently because they are easier to abduct and seen as “pure” and of “higher ritual value.”

Without disclosing statistical figures of how many cases of human sacrifice had been recorded in the district, Ms Ajwang confirms that “Kayunga is a hotbed of ritual sacrifice”.

She said out of more than 300 traditional healers operating in the district, their preliminary investigations reveal that half of the number are quacks.

“Kayunga is a unique area, you will find many households having shrines on top of being multi-ethnic. This could be a major contributor to these acts,” Kayunga chairperson Andrew Muwonge said.

Ms Ajwang said despite enacting laws to crack down on those engaging in human sacrifices, the practice has continued.

The law
Last year, President Museveni passed  the Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill 2021, which criminalises the act of human sacrifice.

The legislation was moved as a private member’s Bill by former Ayivu County legislator Bernard Atiku with the intent of addressing the growing vice of human sacrifice.

According to the new law, any person who mutilates or causes the death of another person for the purpose of performing or furthering a ritual commits an offence and will be punished by the death penalty upon conviction.

“Worse still, it is a big challenge investigating human sacrifice cases because on some occasions it is carried out by parents themselves on their children while in some other cases people are not willing to give information that could be of help to arrest and prosecute offenders,” Ms Ajwanga said, adding: “We appeal to religious leaders to help us instill morals in our people. As police, we have tried to sensitise them against this vice.’’

Ms Sylvia Namutebi, aka Maama Fiina, the national chairperson of Uganda Traditional Healer’s Association, dismisses claims that the acts are committed by people who practice her trade.

“No genuine traditional healer can sacrifice a human being. These are masqueraders hiding in our job. It is our duty to ensure we [genuine healers] weed out such bad people,” Ms Namutebi said.

She said with the help of genuine healers, they have arrested and prosecuted such ‘wrong elements’, noting that she is on a country-wide tour to sensitise traditional healers on professional ethics.

Mr Peter Mawerere, the Kayunga deputy Resident District Commissioner, blamed the vice on ignorance, greed, and poverty. He noted that many people sacrifice human beings because they think it will make them wealthier.

“It is surprising that many people go to traditional healers when they fall sick, even when their ailments can be treated by qualified medical personnel,” he said.

“We have tasked the leadership of traditional healers to fight the acts, which we highly believe are perpetuated by some of their members,” he added.

Rev Fr Maurice Kigoye, the parish priest of Kangulumira Parish in Kangulumira Sub-county,  said: “It [human sacrifice] is really an inhuman act. How can you think that when you kill a person and drink their blood, you can get rich? As religious leaders, we have tried to lure them [culprits] to turn to God and get saved,” Fr Kigoye said.

NGO role
Mr Peter Sewakiryanga, the executive director of Kyampisi Child Care Ministries (KCM), said his organisation receives a number of human sacrifice cases from Kayunga District every month.

“We work with probation officers, police, and other agencies who bring to our attention such cases,” he said.

Mr Sewakiryanga added that in a bid to ensure the culprits are arrested and prosecuted, his organisation facilitates investigations carried out by police officers.

“Many such cases die at the investigation stage, but with our support, a number of the suspects have been prosecuted and convicted like the recent one of Ssembatya. Court sentenced the convicts to 40 years each in jail,” he said.

He explains that KCM also offers treatment, counselling, and psychosocial support to survivors of ritual sacrifice.

“We have in some cases relocated families of the victims for their safety, built them houses and offered education to survivors,” Mr Sewakiryanga said.

2013 report

According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations Report, one child is killed for rituals every week.

The report indicates that people carry out human sacrifices to seek wealth, among others. 

Source: Why human sacrifices still thrive in Kayunga

Ghana: Invoke death penalty as punishment for ritual killers — PNC

In many African countries the capital punishment has been abolished, yet in a number of countries people start pressurizing their governments to re-introduce the death penalty notably for convicted ritual murderers.

Consequently, in Malawi and other Southern African countries (Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe) as well as in East Africa (Uganda), in West Africa (Nigeria) and in Central Africa (Equatorial Guinea) the death penalty is no longer a taboo or has been already legalized.

In the aftermath of an increasing number of shocking ritual murders it is now Ghana’s turn. Recently, the People’s National Convention (PNC) called on the government to reintroduce the death penalty for convicted ritual murderers. (webmaster FVDK).

Invoke death penalty as punishment for ritual killers — PNC

Published: October 2, 2022
By: Modern Ghana

Source: Invoke death penalty as punishment for ritual killers — PNC

Nigeria: death sentence for convicted ritual murderers though victim is still missing

The following post refers to a complicated legal verdict. Most people may find the following text incomprehensible. Be that as it may, the reason for including it here is that – summarized – the accused have been found guilty of the crime of murder although the dead body of the victim was never found.

As I often state here, most ritual murder cases which are discovered only represent the tip of the iceberg: many ritual murders are never discovered.

The accused, Nancy Aiwuyor, and two other persons were found guilty by the Supreme Court of Nigeria of – again summarized (FVDK) – conspiracy, child stealing and murder. See the first paragraph of the article below (‘Facts’).

In the last paragraph it becomes clear that the accused stole the child – apparently a baby, see the last but one paragraph – for ritual purposes: The Supreme Court held that the prosecution (a lower court) has proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that the acts of the three accused caused the presumed death of the child they stole for ritual purposes (italics mine, FVDK).

Hence, the Supreme Court affirmed the conviction of the three accused  who will face the capital punishment for the crime(s) committed.

The Supreme Court’s decision does not reveal the identity of the victim, a child who has been missing for (over) seven years. The incident took place in 2009. The importance of the Supreme Court’s decision lies in the accepted legal principle that the person who was last seen in company of a missing person can be charged with murder.

Doctrine of Last Seen in a Charge of Murder

Published: January 25, 2022
By: This Day, Nigeria

In the Supreme Court of Nigeria Holden at Abuja On Friday, the 11th day of June, 2021

Before Their Lordships Amina Adamu Augie Uwani Musa Abba Aji Mohammed Lawal Garba Tijjani Abubakar Emmanuel Akomaye Agim Justices, Supreme Court

SC. 996C/2018

Between

Nancy Aiwuyor Appellant

And

The State Respondent

(Lead Judgement delivered by Honourable Mohammed Lawal Garba, JSC)

Facts

The Appellant and two other persons were charged and tried for offences bothering on conspiracy, child stealing and murder, contrary to the provisions of Sections 516, 317 and 319 (1) of the Criminal Code. Five witnesses testified for the prosecution; while the Appellant was the sole witness. The trial court convicted the Appellant and others for the offences charged, and they were sentenced to death for the offence of murder. The Appellant’s appeal to the Court of Appeal, was dismissed. The Appellant further appealed to the Supreme Court.

Issue for Determination

The Supreme Court considered the following sole issue as being central to the appeal and decided the appeal thereon:

“Whether the lower court was right, that the prosecution had proved the offences the Appellant was charged with beyond reasonable doubt by the evidence adduced before the trial court.”

Arguments

Relying on the decision of court in COP v AMUTA LPELR- 41386(SC), counsel for the Appellant submitted that in criminal trials, the burden of proof is beyond reasonable doubt, and this burden rests on the prosecution throughout trial. Counsel contended that the burden is to be discharged by credible and cogent evidence, which is sufficient to eliminate reasonable doubt that it was the accused person who committed the offence he was charged with. Counsel relied on IGBABELE v STATE (2006) 5 NWLR (Pt. 975) 100 for the three ingredients of the offence of murder which the prosecution is required to prove together or conjunctively, in order to satisfy the proof beyond reasonable doubt. It was the position of counsel that the prosecution did not, by the evidence adduced at trial, prove any of the offences against the Appellant, particularly murder, beyond reasonable doubt. He argued that the witnesses called in the case did not give evidence in that regard, and that the Court of Appeal erred in law to have affirmed the conviction of the Appellant in the absence of proof beyond reasonable doubt. Further relying on the case of ORISA v STATE (2018) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1631) 457, Counsel argued that the evidence of the Appellant was cogent, unequivocal, and remained unshaken during cross-examination, but the trial court simply disregarded it in its judgement. Counsel argued that it is the duty of the trial court to resolve any doubt in the circumstantial evidence in favour of the accused person where it is capable of two interpretations; one showing the innocence and the other, the guilt of the accused person.

In response to the submissions above, counsel argued for the Respondent that the prosecution had discharged the burden of proof of the offences the Appellant was charged with, and that the trial and lower court were right to have convicted and affirmed the conviction of the Appellant; respectively. Counsel submitted that the concurrent findings of the two courts are not only borne out of abundance of evidence, but also based on relevant principles of law in Section 135(1) of the Evidence Act. Relying on OSENI v STATE (2012) 208 LRCN 151, he posited that that proof could be in any of the following ways: confessional statement by an accused person, circumstantial evidence or evidence of eyewitness of the crime. Counsel submitted that conspiracy, which is an offence that may not always be proved by direct evidence, and is distinct from the main offence, can be inferred from the facts and circumstances of a case – IKEMSON v STATE (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt. 110) 455. Counsel contended that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, depicted vividly how the Appellant in company of the 1st & 2nd accused persons in consensus ad idem, stole and eventually murdered the victim for ritual purposes, and that the evidence of DW1 and DW2 corroborated the prosecution evidence to prove the charge of conspiracy as required by law. For the offence of child stealing, counsel argued that citing the evidence of PW1 and statement of the Appellant, established that the Appellant actively participated in the commission of the offence and that no evidence was given in rebuttal by the Appellant. On the offence of murder, counsel relied on EDAMINE v STATE (1996) 3 NWLR (Pt. 438) 530 for the essential ingredients of the offence, and argued that the law is settled that where the victim was last seen with the accused person and has not been found after a period of more than seven years, death would be presumed by virtue of Section 164(1) of the Evidence Act. Learned counsel submitted that the evidence before the trial court, was that the victim was last seen by and with the Appellant who received her from the 2nd accused person, and the victim has not been seen or found since February 24th, 2009, thereby giving rise to the reasonable presumption of death. Counsel submitted further that concurrent findings by the two lower courts, was rooted in the evidence which sufficiently established the ingredients required to prove the offences beyond reasonable doubt against the Appellants.

Court’s Judgement and Rationale

Before deciding the sole issue, the Supreme Court pointed out that the law permits a Respondent who did not file a Cross-appeal or a Respondent’s Notice of Appeal, to formulate issues from the grounds of appeal filed by the Appellant, and in so doing, adopt a favourable slant. Such Respondent does not have to adopt the form or style of the Appellant, in the formulation of the issues for determination -ATANDA v AJAYI (1989)3 NWLR (Pt. 111) 511.

Deciding the sole issue, the Supreme Court held that it is elementary in all superior courts of record in Nigeria, that by the combined provisions of Section 131, 132, 135(1) and 139 of the Evidence Act 2011, the burden of proof in all criminal trials is on the prosecution, to prove the offences which the accused persons are alleged to have committed beyond reasonable doubt. Another settled principle of law is that, the burden of proof imposed on the prosecution in criminal trials can be effectively discharged, and the presumption of innocence in favour of an accused person completely displaced by any of the following ways: confessional statement of the accused person which satisfies the requirements of law, direct eyewitness evidence or circumstantial evidence which meets or satisfies the requirements of the law – IGBABELE v STATE (2006) 5 NWLR (Pt. 975).

The court held that for the evidence to be adduced by the prosecution in the discharge of the burden of proof in any of these ways, by law, all material ingredients or elements which constitute the offence with which he was charged before the court, must be established together or conjunctively. Where a trial court failed or omitted to adequately, properly, and fairly consider a defence disclosed in the evidence before it which is open and available to an accused person before convicting him for the offence he was charged with, an appellate court would readily consider such defences in the event of an appeal on the failure or omission by the trial court – OJO v STATE (1973) 11 SC. An appellate court lacks the judicial competence to consider, deal with, pronounce and decide any issue or point which is outside of and not related to the grounds of an appeal contained on the Notice of Appeal filed before. In this instance, however, the Appellant did not, by his Grounds of Appeal or the issues submitted to the lower court for its determination, raise the issue of omission or failure by the trial court to consider the defence raised by the Appellant during trial, in the judgement appealed against. Not being an issue submitted to it or arising from any of the grounds of appeal before it, the lower court had no obligation or duty in law, to deal with or make pronouncement on the alleged omission or failure by the trial court to consider the defence raised by the Appellant at the trial court – IYAJI v EYIGEBE (1987) 1 NWLR (Pt. 61) 523.

Further, the proof of the offence of conspiracy lies in the inferences to be drawn from subsequent illegal acts or conducts by the individual conspirators. towards meeting or achieving the common intention and purpose. From the series and sequence of the acts and conduct by the accused persons, as narrated in their respective statements, there is no reasonable doubt that they could only come from the personal knowledge and common intention of persons who had agreed to commit an illegal act for a common purpose as envisaged by the provisions of Sections 7 and 8 of the Criminal Code, in order to constitute the offence of conspiracy between them. The evidence adduced by the prosecution through PW3 – the victim’s father, established beyond reasonable doubt that the victim who was a three-year-old at the material time, was taken away from their care, possession, and protection, forcibly and with the clear intention to steal her for an illegal purpose. The evidence leaves no reasonable doubt that the offence of child stealing under Section 371 of the Criminal Code was committed, in furtherance and pursuit of the common intention by the Appellant and her co-conspirators; the first and second accused persons. Consequently, the offences of conspiracy to commit felony and child stealing have been proved by the evidence, adduced by the prosecution, beyond reasonable doubt, as required by the law and the lower court was right to have affirmed her conviction for the said offences.

On the charge of murder, the court held that the law is firmly settled, as seen in loads of judicial authorities, that for the prosecution to secure a conviction for the offence of murder, the following crucial, vital and essential elements must be proved conjunctively, beyond reasonable doubt, that the death of the human has actually and in fact, taken place or occurred, the death was caused by the acts done or attributable to the accused person charged with the offence and the acts was done by the accused person with the intention to cause the death or that at the material time he knew or had reason to know that death was the probable, and not only a likely consequence of the act- OKORO v STATE (1988) 12 SCNJ.

In this case, the child who the Appellant and other accused persons conspired with, and stole was not found up to the time her trial commenced and ended. The lower court believed and relied on the evidence that since the Appellant and the co-accused conspired and stole the missing child who had not been seen or found for a period of seven years thereafter, there was the presumption of her death, and the Appellant had the duty to explain what happened to her because they were last seen with her. As shown by the evidence, the Appellant and the 2nd accused person were the last persons seen with the victim, when she was handed over to them by the 1st accused person on the 24th February, 2009 and they took her away alive, but she had since then, not been traced, seen or heard of or about. The Appellant has the duty to give or offer an acceptable explanation on the whereabouts, the condition or situation that the baby victim has been from the time they took her away from the village until she was traced, found or heard of or about, if ever. The fact that there was no direct evidence of her death or that her dead body was not found, would not affect or detract from the statutory presumption of her death, or its proof by the cogent and compelling circumstantial evidence placed before the trial court – STATE v SUNDAY (2019) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1676) 115. The court held further that the lower court was right that the presumption provided for and envisaged in the provisions of Section 164(1) of the Evidence Act applied in the Appellant’s case such that until rebutted by the Appellant, it was safe to say that the death of the child was proved beyond reasonable doubt in the circumstances of the case.

On the element that the death of the child was attributable to or resulted from the acts of the Appellant, the court held that the prosecution has proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that the acts of the Appellant along with her co-conspirators, caused the statutorily presumed death of the child they stole for ritual purposes. Thus, the second element of the offence of murder was thereby, satisfied. On the last of the elements, their Lordships held that with the brutal removal of nine fingers and the hair of the three year old victim, no reasonable doubt exists in the Appellant’s case that she indeed intended and knew that the death of their unfortunate victim was the inevitable result or consequence of their nefarious acts. The court therefore, affirmed the conviction of the Appellant.

Appeal Dismissed.

Representation
Olayiwola Afolabi for the Appellant.
Paulyn O. Abhulimen for the Respondent.

Reported by Optimum Publishers Limited, Publishers of the Nigerian Monthly Law Reports (NMLR)(An affiliate of Babalakin & Co.)

Source: Doctrine of Last Seen in a Charge of Murder

Uganda: father kills his two children for money ritual – police prevents mob justice

Ritual murders, human sacrifices, money rituals, they recently resulted in the enactment of a law by the Ugandan parliament introducing the capital punishment for convicted perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Meanwhile reports on these atrocities continue to dominate the local news. It is again a shocking story. 

In Jiira Village in Bbaale Sub-county, Kayunga District, a father allegedly killed his two young children (7 and 3 years old) for ‘money ritual’. The police had to intervene to prevent a crowd from attacking the 46-year old man and lynching him.

Kayunga District has a bad reputation for human sacrifice. In 2018, a witchdoctor was arrested with five bodies at his shrine. See for more details the second article below which also contains more child-sacrifice murder cases including one involving businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi who was found guilty of murdering a 12-year-old boy for ritualistic purposes in October 2008.

Warning: some readers may find the following articles disturbing (webmaster FVDK).

Father arrested for allegedly killing his two children for money ritual

Published: May 16, 2021
By: The Street Journal – Jenny Ese Obukohwo

A 46-year-old man, Musilumu Mbwire, has been arrested for allegedly killing his two children for money ritual at Jiira Village in Bbaale Sub-county, Kayunga District, Uganda, Daily Monitor reports. (See below – webmaster FVDK

The body of one of the two children, Latif Kamulasi, 7, was exhumed by police pathologists on Tuesday, May 13, but that of his sibling, 3-year-old Sahum Baizambona, could not be located after a long search.

The police say the father confessed to having slit his children’s throats after his employer asked for their blood promising to pay him Shs4 million and a commercial building at Bbaale trading centre.

“My boss promised me Shs4m and a house if I sacrificed my children and gave him the blood, but he has so far paid me Shs100,000,” the police quoted Mr Mbwire to have said. 

His employer, however, has denied any involvement in the shocking killing. Both men are in custody at Kayunga Central Police Station to assist police with investigations into the outrageous deed.

The police say producing the suspects in court to be charged, has been delayed by public holidays for President Museveni’s swearing-in on Wednesday and Idd-ul-Fitr on Thursday.

Spokesperson of the Criminal Investigations Directorate spokesperson, Mr. Charles Twine, said during a media briefing two weeks ago, the suspect’s brother, Mr. Simon Kibubu, who lives in the same area, said he got concerned when he discovered that two of Mbwire’s children were missing.

“When Mr Kibubu asked his brother where the children were, he claimed he had taken them to their sister, Mary Kantono, who lives in the same parish,” Mr Twine said.

But when Mr. Kabubu asked Ms. Kantono about the children’s whereabouts, she said she was unaware. This prompted Mr. Kibubu to notify the area defense secretary, Mr. Asuman Bagala, and lodge a complaint with the police at Bbaale. The police then promptly arrested Mbwire. 

Mr Twine and his team combed the bushes in Jjiira Village as the children’s father walked them from one spot to another to locate his children’s remains.

Three locations that Mr Mbwire had pointed out as burial spots turned out false, enraging more the charged crowd and police investigators. The crowd, among whom were relatives and residents, hurled insults and curses at the father.

Mr Mbwire then led the group to a site where they had burnt charcoal several months ago. There he was given a hoe and dug out lumps of damp and loosened soil with the help of some area residents.

More scoops yielded the decomposed body as tears rolled down the cheeks of some of the bystanders, who demanded the police surrender the suspect to them.

But the police quickly stepped in to shield Mr Mbwire from attack, but handed him gloves which he wore to scoop out the body of his son. Mr Twine said the suspect told them he buried Kamulasi in late March.

After exhuming the first body, the suspect led them to a forest where he said he had buried the second child, Baizambona. But the police failed to locate the body after digging up at several sites he had led them to. At 7pm, the police called off the search and promised to return later. 

Mr Twine said they would resume the search this week and castigated people who look for wealth through human sacrifice.

“Wealth is gotten through hard work, not human sacrifice,” he warned.

The body of Kamulasi was taken to Mulago national referral hospital for a post-mortem as scene-of-crime officers and other detectives continue to gather more evidence.

Police said they plan to submit the case file to the resident state attorney soon for a decision on whether the preferred charge of murder against the suspects is sustainable.

Source: Father arrested for allegedly killing his two children for money ritual

Related article:

Father kills own children for cash

The suspects are bundled onto a police pick-up truck after they were arrested on May 12 . PHOTO/ FRED MUZAALE

Published: May 15, 2021
By: Daily Monitor, Uganda – Fred Muzaale  

Jiira Village in Bbaale Sub-county, Kayunga District, was on Tuesday engulfed in grief as police dug up the body of one of two children allegedly killed by their father in a suspected ritual sacrifice.

The residents, especially women, yelled and wailed as police pathologists exhumed the decomposed body of Latif Kamulasi, 7.
The body of his sibling, 3-year-old Sahum Baizambona, could not be located, even after a long search.

The police say the children’s father, Musilumu Mbwire, 46, confessed to have slit the throats of his two children after his employer asked for their blood on promise for Shs4 million payment.

A police detective knowledgeable about the inquiries said the suspect, during investigations, said he was promised a commercial building at Bbaale Trading Centre. But his employer has denied any involvement in the shocking killing.

By press time, both men were in custody at Kayunga Central Police Station to assist police with investigations into the outrageous deed.
The police say producing the suspects in court to be charged has been delayed by public holidays for President Museveni’s swearing-in on Wednesday and Idd-ul-Fitr on Thursday.

The grim incident comes only days after Parliament passed a law that criminalises human sacrifice.
The Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice legislation, introduced by Ayivu County MP Bernard Atiku, was enacted by Parliament last week and only awaits President Museveni’s approval to provide a death sentence as the highest penalty for any person convicted of the offence.   

Amid a downpour, a team of police doctors led by Mr Charles Twine, the Criminal Investigations Directorate spokesperson, combed the bushes in Jjiira Village as the children’s father walked them from one spot to another to locate his children’s remains.

Three locations that Mr Mbwire had pointed out as burial spots turned out false, enraging more the charged crowd and police investigators.
The crowd, among whom were relatives and residents, hurled insults and curses at the father. Mr Mbwire then led the group to a site where they had burnt charcoal several months ago. 

Here, he was given a hoe and dug out lumps of damp and loosened soil with the help of some area residents.
Soon, a blanket in which he wrapped Kamulasi’s body popped out, driving up emotions as the crowd surged forward, threatening to lynch Mr Mbwire.
More scoops yielded the decomposed body as tears rolled down the cheeks of some of the bystanders, who demanded the police surrender the suspect to them.

But the police quickly stepped in to shield Mr Mbwire from attack, but handed him gloves which he wore to scoop out the body of his 7-year-old son, whom the police said he had confessed to killing and secretly burying in March.

As he pulled out the remains from the shallow grave, some of the body parts dropped off as a horrid stench blew over the area.
The residents went wild as they surged to grab Mr Mbwire, but others were overwhelmed and broke down, crying uncontrollably.
Mr Twine said the suspect told them he buried Kamulasi late March.
After exhuming the first body, the suspect led them to a forest where he said he had buried the second child, Baizambona. But the police failed to locate the body after digging up at several sites he had led them to.

As darkness fell at 7pm, the police called off the search and promised to return later this week.

Discovery
During a media briefing two weeks ago, Mr Twine said Mr Mbwire’s brother, Mr Simon Kibubu, who lives in the same area, got concerned when he discovered that two of Mbwire’s children were missing.

“When Mr Kibubu asked his brother where the children were, he claimed he had taken them to their sister, Mary Kantono, who lives in the same parish,” Mr Twine said.

But when Mr Kabubu asked Ms Kantono about the children’s whereabouts, she said she was unaware.
This prompted Mr Kibubu to notify the area defence secretary, Mr Asuman Bagala, and lodge a complaint with the police at Bbaale.

The police then promptly arrested Mbwire, who they said told detectives that he had sacrificed his children for self-enrichment.
“My boss promised me Shs4m and a house if I sacrificed my children and gave him the blood, but he has so far paid me Shs100,000,” the police quoted Mr Mbwire to have said.

Mr Twine said they would resume the search this week and castigated people who look for wealth through human sacrifice.
“Wealth is gotten through hard work, not human sacrifice,” he warned.

The retrieved body of Kamulasi was taken to Mulago National Referral Hospital for a post-mortem as scene-of-crime officers and other detectives continue to gather more evidence.

Police said they plan to submit the case file to the resident state attorney soon for a decision on whether the preferred charge of murder against the suspects is sustainable.

Kayunga District has a notorious reputation for human sacrifice. In 2018, a witchdoctor was arrested with five bodies at his shrine.

Background- Police report
The recent police crime report for 2020 shows that 4.7 per cent of the cases reported in 2020 were a result of child-related offences, with 9,225 cases of children/juveniles as direct targets/victims of crime, compared to 10,596 cases reported in 2019

Other cases     
In 2016, Times Ssemakula was arrested by police at Old Kampala Police Station on charges of sacrificing his own two children. A case vide SD38/23/10/2016 was entered in the police station book.

In 2008, Businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi was convicted for the murder and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Masaka High Court Judge Justice Mike Chibita found Kajubi guilty of murdering 12-year-old Joseph Kasirye in October 2008.

Businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi (right) consults with his lawyer during the hearing of his appeal case at the Supreme Court early this year. PHOTO/JULIE KIGONGO

Prosecution told court that Kajubi committed the crime on October 27, 2008 when he hired witchdoctors Umar Kateregga and his wife Mariam Nabukeera to kill Kasirye, a pupil of Kayugi Primary School in Mukungwe Sub-county in Masaka District, for ritual purposes. According to the prosecution, Kajubi cut off Kasirye’s head and genitals and disappeared with them to be used in his real estate businesses in Kampala, Jinja and Masaka.

In April, police in Kiboga arrested parents of a three-year-old child following the killing of the juvenile in a suspected child-sacrifice ritual.
Preliminary investigations indicated that the child had left home to play with the neighbours’ children.

The police sniffer dog led detectives to the first scene where the clothes of the missing child were recovered soaked in blood.
Also recovered at the same place was a body part suspected to be a lower lip chin of the victim.

The sniffer dog further led the detectives to another scene at Kanoga swamp where a mutilated body of the victim was recovered.
Other body parts of the child had been cut off from the deceased’s body by the assailants and were visibly missing.

Source: Father kills own children for cash

Uganda: human sacrifice culprits face death penalty

The death penalty as a deterrent – or as a revenge. Will this legal sanction provide a solution to the curse of ritual murders and the end of superstition in Uganda? 

Whereas all actions of the government to end ritual killing in the country must be applauded, I personally believe more in education as a tool to end these heinous crimes than in the capital punishment – which is considered a violation of the basic, human rights of the perpetrator(s) and for this reason rejected by the international community

Having said this, the following article contains a chilling mention of the state of affairs in Uganda with respect to the occurrence of ritual murders (‘human sacrifice is a widespread phenomenon‘). 
(webmaster FVDK)

Human sacrifice culprits face death penalty

Businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi (right) appears at the Supreme Court early last year during hearing of his appeal against his conviction for murdering 12-year-old Joseph Kasirye in 2012. Persons found guilty of committing acts of mutilating and or causing death of another person for purposes of performing a ritual, and those found in possession of human body parts, will suffer death upon conviction. PHOTO /JULIET KIGONGO.

Published: May 6, 2021
By: Daily Monitor, Uganda – Esther Oluka, Arthur Arnold Wadero 

Whoever will be found guilty of sacrificing a person for ritual purposes faces a maximum punishment of death following the passing of a law on human sacrifice.

The Human Sacrifice Bill (2020), once assented to by the President, will also see those who finance acts of human sacrifice facing death.
Clause 1 of the Bill defines human sacrifice as killing, mutilation, removal of organs or body parts of a person for sale or for purpose of witchcraft, rituals or any harmful human practices. 

While presenting the Private Member’s Bill yesterday, which was overwhelmingly supported, Ayivu MP Benard Atiku argued that the current law does not provide for the offence of human sacrifice and that the human sacrifice related cases are prosecuted as murder or related offences under the Penal Code Act.

Human sacrifice is a widespread phenomenon involving people who seek quick means of amassing wealth or power. 
A renowned case is that of 2008 involving Joseph Kasirye, a boy (then aged 12 years) whose torso was found in a swamp, headless and with no genitals.

Businessman Kato Kajubi was found guilty of murder and was handed life imprisonment on conviction.
A section of MPs welcomed the passing of the Bill. 

“In fact, it is long overdue. Human sacrifice is not only inhumane but it is evil,” Mbale Woman MP Connie Galiwango said. 
Ms Betty Aol Ocan, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LoP) and Gulu Woman MP, said she did not understand why people were sacrificing children. 

“You go to a witchdoctor expecting to give you riches, yet that witchdoctor stays in a grass-thatched hut?” Ms Ocan wondered.
Kasese Municipality MP Robert Centenary commended the passing of the Bill after reasoning that adults are victims too. 

Previously, the perpetrators of human sacrifice have targeted people with specific features, including albinos, those without body piercings, big umbilical cords, a gap in their front teeth, among other features. 

Authorities, including police and religious leaders, have repeatedly highlighted that there is no connection between human sacrifice and riches. 
Meanwhile, Mr Emmanuel Jor Ongiertho, the Jonam County MP, had earlier recommended a harsher punishment for human sacrifice culprits. 

“I suggest that the people involved in the practice should be tried by the military and if found guilty, be put on firing squad because we really want to deter people from this practice.” 

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga stated that Parliament had now provided an opportunity for justice to all the victims of human sacrifice. 

“On a number of occasions, when children delegations come to visit me at Parliament, they ask me: ‘where is justice for Kasirye’. I think today (yesterday), we can answer that question and say that Parliament has now provided an avenue for justice for Kasirye and other victims like him,” Ms Kadaga said. 
Children often the most victims of human sacrifice.  

More on the Bill
●  Clause 5 says whoever encourages or advises any person to use human body parts in any ritual or their use in any treatment or other forms of healing would be liable to life imprisonment.
●  Under Clause 6, whoever is found in possession of human body parts and instruments of human sacrifice is liable to life imprisonment.
●  Clause 9 provides for psychosocial support to survivors of human sacrifice. 
●  Clause 10 provides for compensation, rehabilitation or restitution to be made by court in certain cases.

Source: Human sacrifice culprits face death penalty

Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) asks government to speed upon ‘albino’ cases, criticises cover-ups and the protection of high-placed politicians

Unfortunately, the below article contains a too familiar story. Attacks on persons with albinism, mutilation, murder, involvement of high-placed politicians, cover up practices. The President of the Associations of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM), Ian Simbota, again turned his attention to the country’s rulers and requested the government of President Lazarus Chakwera to speed up all abduction and murder cases which targeted people with albinism (PWA) for ritualistic purposes, often involving high-profile politicians.

It is shocking to read the following article. I won’t repeat here what follows. Once more, however, I want to draw attention to these heinous crimes which threaten people with albinisme on a daily basis. Ritual murders must end. Politicians and other culprits who are involved must be apprehended, put on trial and sentenced. Simultaneously, a national awareness campaign must start, emphasizing the sanctity of life, the need to protect innocent people, the promotion of human rights notably to right to live and the right to live without fear. The government must take its responsibility and act accordingly – or resign.
(webmaster FVDK).

APAM asks Tonse Alliance Govt. to speed upon ‘albino’ cases

Published: April 29, 2021
By: Nyasa Times – Tiwonge Kumwenda

Source: APAM asks Tonse Alliance Govt. to speed upon ‘albino’ cases

Zimbabwe – Editorial comment: combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

A recent surge in ritual murders of children has shocked Zimbabwe. Within a short period, three children were murdered for ritualistic purposes: Tapiwa Makore (7) of Murehwa and the two Benza cousins Delan (7) and Melissa (7) of central Mutasa. I have extensively covered the murder of Tapiwa. The following days I will provide more details about the murder of Delan and Melissa.

The child sacrifices have led to many reactions. One of these comments follows here. It contains a plea for tougher measures for the culprits, even the capital punishment. There is much to say about (and against) the death penalty but let us know focus here on the editorial comments. 
To be cont’d.
(webmaster FVDK)

EDITORIAL COMMENT : Combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

Published: April 27, 2021
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe

The murder of three children for what appears to be ritual purposes in just seven months is a worrying dark cloud over Zimbabwe and requires action at both community level and among a number of sections of society.

These are not the first such killings, perhaps just the best publicised for some time since the victims were all seven-years-old and the police moved swiftly and effectively to track down the suspects, with other family members among those arrested and remanded.

There is a superstitious belief among a minority that killing a child or another young person in a particular way, which can be equated to torture before the murder, and then processing certain body parts in a set-down manner will create, increase and maintain wealth.

This is nonsense, and with the competent homicide investigations now in progress it must be becoming obvious that initiating such a killing is totally unlikely to bring anything, but a very long jail sentence for the killers.

Although the death penalty is still on the books for aggravated murder by an adult man, and aggravating circumstances do not come more aggravating than pre-meditated murder of a child for financial gain, the fact remains that Zimbabwe does not implement death penalties any more, and instead life imprisonment is substituted.

There are already many positive developments that can help to end this practice of ritual killings. It is now clear that communities are willing to take action, rather than quiver in fear and keep quiet. 

People are not afraid to stand up and be counted and are willing to pass on whatever information they have to the police. 

In fact one of the major problems now in such investigations is that some are passing on confusing fifth-hand hearsay, which still needs to be properly investigated, rather than hard fact of what they saw. But homicide detectives are trained to separate the chaff from the hard fact, and better that too many try and help than too few.

A second problem is more serious, and has already been mentioned by legislators, including recently Senator Michael Nyambuwa who visited the Mutasa families. 

We need investigations to be pursued to bring the person who gave the ritual advice and who might well have promised to process any body parts.

Even if they did not initiate the killings, and accept some sort of lie when organs are presented, they are still involved in a murder and can be tried as an accomplice. 

N’angas still have a lot of respect and are feared by some, so it can be difficult to get a name, let alone evidence. 

Obviously the actual killers believe in the powers of the n’anga they are using; even in the days when the killers were hanged they refused to give the name and walked silently to the gallows.

Here communities need to encourage people to come forward. There will be a lot of vague and wrong information, but police can then run down the leads. The point is that a person ready to apply their traditional learning to criminal purposes cannot be totally unknown in an area.

The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association can also become more involved, first by teaching very clearly that such killings do not create wealth, only misery, and then encouraging people to come forward. 

In fact traditional healers in a particular area might well have a better idea of which one of their number has turned to the dark side than the average lay person, and should be encouraged to pass on this information.

Traditional leaders, who have already made their abhorrence of such crimes very clear, can also go further in prevention, as well as doing what they do now by calling on their communities to assist after a crime. 

The ideal is to have a murder trial with both the killers and the n’anga who offered advice all in the dock, with sufficiently good evidence that all can be convicted and then go to jail together. 

Detectives chosen for such investigations might need to be carefully selected; there is still a significant number of superstitious people, and even some Christian churches who worry about the creativity of evil, although this is a heretical belief in mainstream Christianity.

Such severely aggravating murders also stress the need for Zimbabwe to upgrade its sentencing laws for murder, now that we have effectively abandoned the death penalty as an active punishment. 

The reforms need to give judges setting sentences more discretion, and as we have argued before we need a system of parole.

In his latest clemency order, the President, with Cabinet consent and what must have been detailed advice, in effect set 15 years behind bars as the absolute minimum for a life sentence. This is not unreasonable and is the effective minimum period of incarceration in many jurisdictions for an “ordinary” murder.

However, countries that have formally abolished the death penalty and substituted life imprisonment usually allow the sentencing judge to make a recommendation over the minimum term in each case. 

In most cases this is whatever the standard is in that country before parole can be considered, frequently 15 years. 

But where there are aggravating circumstances the judge can set a longer minimum term before release can even be considered and, in exceptionally aggravating circumstances, can even call for a “whole life” sentence, or “life imprisonment without any possibility of parole”, as some American states word it. 

Because the killer is not executed this can always be adjusted later if perceptions change or new evidence emerges, but meanwhile the deterrent is in place.

A parole system also means that a released lifer is monitored for the rest of their lives, forbidden to do certain jobs, enter certain businesses and possess anything on a list of prohibited items, such as anything that could be used as a weapon.

And parents clearly need to be protective. This is always difficult, of deciding where do you draw the lines. But one general rule is safety in numbers and having older children helping to shepherd younger children.

We have all seen gaggles of schoolchildren who live near each other moving as a group and automatically having some older teenagers in that group.

Admittedly a lot of this breaks down, as in the latest two cases, when relatives are suspected to be involved, people who are normally trusted. 

But every bit helps and at least there are witnesses if a child is whisked away by an uncle or aunt. 

That is precisely how the police made their initial arrests in the latest two child killings, by following up reports from people who saw something that in retrospect needed to be told.

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT : Combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

Catholic officials decry resurgence of death penalty in southern Africa

The focus of today’s posting is not on ritualistic murders or comparable and related crimes, such as kidnapping, torture a.s.o. However, the topic is related: in more than one African country, the public and also the authorities want the introduction and the carrying out of the death penalty for convicted perpetrators of ritual killings both as a deterrent to prevent future crimes and as a justified revenge of the community for the senseless loss of life of one of its members.

It is a controversial topic, as will be clear from the article below. Whereas many African countries have abolished the capital punishment, there seems to be a resurgence of the death penalty in various parts of Africa, notably in southern Africa (Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe), but also in West Africa (Nigeria e.g.). Recently, Catholic officials across the continent have rejected the increasing calls for the introduction of the death penalty, saying “The death sentence cannot be a solution, especially considering how poor our justice system still is across most of Africa.”

The latter argument makes sense. There are more reasons to defend the abolishment of the death penalty. However, supporters hold the opposite view for reasons cited above.

Whatever the position is, in favor of or against the death penalty, the article reproduced below shows one more time the ugly practice of ritualistic murders in Southern Africa.  

More on the killing of people with albinism in Malawi in a few days time (webmaster FVDK).

Catholic officials decry resurgence of death penalty in southern Africa

Boniface Chibwana, coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Malawi’s bishop’s conference (Provided photo)

Published: March 15, 2021
By: National Catholic Reporter – Tawande Karombo

HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Catholic officials and human rights campaigners across Africa are reiterating their opposition to capital punishment after Botswana carried out two executions for murder convictions in February.

Botswana, located north of South Africa, confirmed the executions of 33-year-old Wedu Mosalagae and 29-year-old Kutlo Setima on Feb. 8. Both had been found guilty in separate cases of killing a woman.

Oluwatosin Popoola, a legal advisor for Amnesty International on death penalty issues, told NCR that the organization is “very concerned” about the executions, especially as they are the fifth and sixth since President Mokgweetsi Masisi came into office in 2019.

This as “a high number for Botswana within a 16-month period and an indication that the country is not relenting in its adherence” to the use of the death penalty, said Popoola.

“The recent executions are regressive and they slow down Africa’s push against the death penalty,” said Popoola. “There is no unique imperative for any country to use the death penalty.”

Although many African nations have abolished use of the death penalty in the past decade — including Guinea, Benin, the Republic of the Congo and Madagascar — Botswana’s government claims it can be a good deterrent to prevent violent crimes.

In nearby Malawi, proponents say it prevents the murdering of people with albinism for ritual purposes. Amnesty international said earlier in February that more than 20 murders of people with albinism have been committed in Malawi since 2014.

In 2019, three Malawians were sentenced to death for the killing of a person with albinism. (See tomorrow’s posting – FVDK). But the country has not carried out any death sentence since 1994, joining other countries such as Zimbabwe that have been imposing death sentences but not carrying out executions.

Boniface Chibwana, coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Malawi’s bishop’s conference, told NCR he thinks African Catholic officials can be doing more to drum up support for the dropping of the death penalty across the continent.

“To deter crimes such as murder, the church needs to progressively and actively socialize the young using the human rights approach, so that many of its followers should grow in Christ while respecting the human rights culture to build societies where such rights as the protection of life are a norm,” he said.

In 2019, there was a 53% jump in death sentence convictions across sub-Saharan Africa compared to 212 convictions a year earlier. These death sentences resulted from murder convictions in Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Popoola said Chad, which borders Libya, Niger and Sudan, was the latest country in Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

In South Africa, there have been calls for the restoration of the death penalty from some sections of society, especially as gender-based violence and killings of women increase. South Africa abolished capital punishment in 1995.

Fr. Dumisani Vilakati, director of the regional conference of Catholic bishops across southern Africa, told NCR that the church is often blamed for not being vocal enough against the death penalty. But he said the church “is part of the solution” for the promotion of the right to life, from conception to natural death.

“Here in Africa, we have to put the death penalty in the pro-life scheme that has been espoused by Pope Francis,” said Vilakati.

“We are a church that preaches conversion of human beings, and we believe that people can change for the better,” said the priest. “The death sentence cannot be a solution, especially considering how poor our justice system still is across most of Africa.”

Vilakati explained that there have been numerous wrongful convictions across the continent, and inmates are increasingly having to wait longer and longer for their trials to be conducted.

“What we need to do as a society is to educate people, and the church should play its role in espousing the sanctity of life [rather] than having society eliminating people through death penalty,” said Vilakati. “We should be pro-life and give people a second chance.”

Source: Catholic officials decry resurgence of death penalty in southern Africa

Map of Southern Africa

Man carrying a child’s severed head arrested outside Ugandan parliament

A bizar incident occurred recently in the Ugandan capital Kampala. Allegedly, a man, carrying the severed head of a five to eight-years-old child, hidden in a gift box, tried to enter the building which houses the nation’s parliament. Not surprisingly, rumors started floating suggesting a case of ritual murder. True or not true? And was maybe a parliamentarian involved? If yes, who? The mere fact of the rumors is an indication, in my opinion, of the phenomenon of ritualistic murders in Uganda – besides, previous posts on this site confirm the occurrence of ritual murders in the East African country. The rumors also show the people’s suspicion and mistrust of rich and famous people in cases of ritualistic activities. Moreover, it is interesting to note and very significant that the incident occurred when Ugandan parliamentarians are discussing a law which intends to punish the crime of human sacrifice with the death penalty!  

I hope that the police will do its work independently and will reveal the truth. If again a ritual murder has been committed, the perpetrators must be arrested and tried. If not, let it be established. Of course, it is crystal clear that a crime has been committed and that a child was the victim. The rule of law must apply, as I have repeatedly underlined in this place. Without the rue of law there is no justice, no progress, no development (webmaster FVDK).

Man carrying a child’s severed head arrested outside Ugandan parliament

Published: September 15, 2020
By: Metro, Uganda – Joe Roberts

A man has been arrested after attempting to enter the Ugandan parliamentary building carrying the severed head of a child in a gift box. The child was aged about five to eight-years-old, but no more details were given by police.

It comes as politicians in the east African country consider a bill that would punish the crime of human sacrifice with the death penalty. Ugandans on social media expressed outrage over the incident, with some pointing out that it had the hallmarks of a ritual killing.

Children are frequently targeted in such killings across Uganda, according to police and some watchdog groups. Officers said they can ‘assure the general public that the investigations are vigorously being undertaken to ensure that the perpetrators are taken to court’.

The gruesome package was apparently intended to be delivered to the office of the parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga. A spokesman for Ms Kadaga, a member of the governing National Resistance Movement party, who has held the speaker’s post for two terms, declined to comment.

Source: Man carrying a child’s severed head arrested outside Ugandan parliament

Related article:

Ugandan police nab man entering parliament with severed head

Published: September 14, 2020
By: Sports grind Entertainment

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan police on Monday arrested a man attempting to enter the parliamentary building in the capital carrying the severed head of a child in a wrapped gift box.

Police said in a statement that the victim was a child of about five to eight years, giving no more details.

Police “assure the general public that the investigations are vigorously being undertaken to ensure that the perpetrators are taken to court,” said the statement.

Parliamentary Watch Uganda, a local group that monitors the activities of the legislature, said the gruesome package was intended to be delivered to the office of the parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga.

A spokesman for Kadaga, a member of the governing National Resistance Movement party who has held the speaker’s post for two terms, declined to comment.

Lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would punish the crime of human sacrifice with the death penalty. Supporters of the bill say such legislation is long overdue.

Ugandans on social media expressed outrage over the incident, with some pointing out that it had the hallmarks of a ritual killing. Children are frequently targeted in such killings across the East African country, according to the police and some watchdog groups.

Source: Ugandan police nab man entering parliament with severed head