Botswana at odds with the African trend on the question of the death penalty. Just last week, the country executed a condemned man, provoking outrage from human rights NGOs.
At the forefront of these human rights defenders against the death penalty, Amnesty International. The NGO, which stands alongside human rights lawyers from Botswana and the European Union, called on the new Botswana president to draw a line on prison executions, citing the rest of Africa as an example.
Only a week ago, Botswana executed a 44-year-old detainee who was on death row for murder. Mooketsi Kgosibodiba, a stonemason, was notably imprisoned since 2017 for strangling his employee who accused him of stealing cement. On Monday, 2 December, the prison services reported that the detainee was hanged at Gaborone Central Prison.
This is the first execution since the presidential elections in October, and Botswana is the only country in southern Africa that still regularly executes people, countering regional and global trends, according to Amnesty International.
A downward trend in the world
Before Kgosibodiba’s death, two other people were hanged in Botswana in 2018. Amnesty said that executions are often carried out without warning, as families of convicted persons are only notified after execution. Charges to which the Botswana government has not yet reacted.
While praised for its political stability and strong economy, Botswana still has the opportunity to strengthen the rights of its citizens, Amnesty believes. « By signing Kgosibodiba’s death warrant, newly elected President Mokgweetsi Masisi has missed an opportunity to show immediate strong leadership by abolishing the death penalty, » said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s regional director. Southern Africa.
To date, of the 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that maintain the death penalty in their legislation, only four – Botswana, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan – actually implement them. These countries carried out executions in 2018.
However, executions worldwide have fallen by almost a third in 2018 to reach the lowest figure in a decade.