Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi voting during the country's October 23 election. Picture: Jerome Delay/AP

Durban - Human Rights organisation Amnesty International has said that Botswana’s president-elect must prioritise abolishing the death penalty. 

“Mr Masisi has a chance to immediately demonstrate strong leadership by abolishing the death penalty. Justice is not served by executing people, and the world is moving away from this abhorrent and degrading form of punishment,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“There is no space for the death penalty in a country like Botswana, which has demonstrated a great leadership role on some difficult political issues, including by denouncing impunity for human rights violations on the African continent.”

The death penalty is still used for certain crimes in Botswana. In 2018, two people were executed after they were convicted of murder.

It is the only country in Southern Africa that consistently executes people, bucking the regional and global trend.

Executions fell by almost one third in 2018 to the lowest figure in a decade. At the end of last year, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

"Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment," said Muchena. 

African News Agency (ANA)