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Siaya residents differ on death penalty and life sentence

Opinion was divided on death penalty and life imprisonment for capital offences during the Siaya county public debate in Siaya town Friday.

Half of the speakers at the forum organised by the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee (POMAC) called for abolition of the death penalty and reduction of life imprisonment to an average of 30 years.

Human rights activists, administrators and legal professionals argued that the death penalty violated a section of the Constitution, as religious leaders said it was against God’s command.

Others called for retention of the death penalty and life imprisonment, saying many of the convicts once released often commit the same crimes that they had been imprisoned for. Most of them wanted the defilement, abduction and economic sabotage included among the capital offences.

The team is led by POMAC vice chair Regina Boisabi has been going round the country to collect public views on capital punishment. The team has visited Kisumu, Busia, Homabay and Migori counties.

Almost all the speakers faulted the criminal justice system, for corruption saying it often leads to the release of capital offences convicts under unclear circumstances. Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation (MYWO) Siaya town chairlady Amelia Auma was also of the opinion that the two capital punishments be retained.

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