President Hakainde Hichilema,on his Facebook page, declared the death penalty and the crime of criminal defamation of the President to be no longer in effect.
HH declares the death penalty and president-defamation felony to be abolished
All clauses in the Penal Code Act that mandated the death penalty in the absence of mitigating circumstances are repealed by the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 25 of 2022, which has the President's approval.
In addition, defamation of the President as a crime is prohibited under Section 69's provisions, which have likewise been removed.
President Hakainde Hichilema stressed that these modifications are in line with pledges made during the campaign to modify legislation that impedes the advancement of democracy, good governance, and human rights.
"Fellow Zambians, when we ran for the President, we pledged to change any laws restricting human rights and fundamental freedoms, obstructing democracy and good governance. In a statement, the President declared, "We have delivered today."
According to the statement, the elimination of the death sentence and the criminalization of president slander is an excellent advancement for human rights in the Republic of Zambia.
The choice to abolish these clauses reveals a dedication to justice and the defense of everyone's fundamental rights.
Isaac Mwanza, a governance activist, argues that President Hichilema's government should be applauded for getting the law on President-discrediting from the Penal Code repealed by Parliament.
He, however, states more needs to be done. According to Mr. Mwanza, deleting Section 69 of the Penal Code won't materially alter Zambia's democratic environment.
This can only happen if President Hichilema and his administration also repeal Chapter 18, which includes Chapter 8 of the Penal Code, which keeps criminal defamation as a legal offense.
Mr. Mwanza pointed out that the repealed Section 69 was only utilized by the Zambian Police to charge those who made disparaging remarks about the President.
This is because the Police will continue to detain any opponents or make similar claims and charge anyone with criminal defamation of the President following Chapter 18 of the Penal Code.
Since then, Mr. Mwanza has cautioned that it is premature to hail the removal of Section 69 of the Penal Code as a triumph for democracy.
He explained that even in the absence of the Penal Code's deleted Section 69, the law is "replete with several provisions for charging anyone with defamation of the President," as seen in Chapter 18.