The European Union (EU) has added its voice to growing chorus by human rights activists condemning capital punishment following the execution of double murder convict, Joseph Tselayarona, last weekend.
Following the brutal murder of his girlfriend, Ngwanyanaotsile Keikanne and her 3-year-old son Miguel in 2010, Tselayarona was convicted by a Gaborone High Court in March last year for the offences.
He was sentenced to a 20-year jail term for the murder of his girlfriend and handed a death penalty for the murder of the son.
He later appealed the judgement but it was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on November 23rd last year.
Tselayarona’s execution at Gaborone Central Prison on Saturday morning reignited the debate on capital punishment as activists took to social media criticizing government for its stance on capital punishment.
Botswana government has always maintained its position on the death penalty and no death row inmate has ever received any presidential clemency in the country’s history.
Former President, Festus Mogae was a firm proponent of capital punishment and he declared following the infamous execution of South African woman, Marietta Bosch in 2001: ‘I’m a retributionist by conviction’.
His successor, Ian Khama has also since ignored any calls by activists to abolish the death penalty.
He recently told Palapye residents during his farewell tour that government will keep turning a deaf ear to human rights groups ‘that value the lives of murderers over their victims’.
Yesterday the EU Delegation added reacted to Tselayarona’s execution as they criticised Botswana for its position on the death penalty.
“The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment. There is no evidence that it has a better deterrent effect than imprisonment, and judicial and other errors in its application are irrevocable and irreversible, which is why most of the countries in the world have stopped applying it,” they said in a statement.
The EU Delegation further called on government to initiate a public debate on its use of the death penalty as agreed in the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council.