MPs divided over a proposal to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment

The proposed amendment aims to substitute the death penalty with life imprisonment.

Although the death penalty was initially inherited from the colonial era as a punishment for offenses like murder, attempted murder, genocide, piracy, and smuggling of gold or diamonds, Ghana has refrained from executing offenders since 1993.

During the parliamentary debate on the amendment bill, MPs expressed varying opinions concerning the abolishment of the death penalty.

Cletus Avoka, the MP for Zebilla Constituency, voiced his concerns, stating, “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 favor of the motion are unmeritorious.”

On the other hand, Francis-Xavier Sosu, the MP for Madina and a proponent of the amendment, emphasized Ghana’s current stance, saying, “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.”

During the debate, James Agalga, the Builsa North MP, and Habib Iddrisu, the Second Deputy Majority Whip, pointed out a correction, stating, “We cannot count universal declaration on human rights as 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 qualify as a treaty.”