Monday, February 04, 2013

S/Province wants medical checks for presidential candidates

S/Province wants medical checks for presidential candidates
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone and Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Sun 03 Feb. 2013, 14:00 CAT

SOUTHERN Province constitutional convention delegates have resolved to subject presidential election candidates to a medical checkup before nomination. And the delegates have also resolved that those standing for presidency should possess at least a first degree in any field.

Meanwhile, former Amnesty International Zambia secretary general Zebbies Mumba says Zambians must reject manoeuvres to retain the death penalty in the Constitution because it is barbaric and undermines the value of life.

The Southern Province delegates also resolved to limit the number of terms for parliamentarians to two.

When the debate to amend article 139 on the tenure of office and vacation of member of parliament by introducing a clause to limit the term of office to two terms began, most delegates turned to Kalomo area member of parliament Request Muntanga, forcing him to respond, causing laughter.

"I seek protection Mr Chairman (Solomon Muzyamba). I could see the delegates excited when they were talking about not more than two terms; they were looking at me and I felt harassed. However, Mr chairman I want you to remind them that the Constitution does not apply retrospectively, meaning when you change the constitution I will apply again and run for two terms," Muntanga said, amid more laughter from delegates.

The convention, which was also being attended by chief Chikanta of Kalomo, chief Sinazongwe and chietainess Mwenda of Chikankata, ended yesterday.

Chieftainess Mwenda and Chikanta planted a constitutional baobab tree on the grounds of Courtyard Hotel provided by an environmentalist, Benjamin Mibenge.
And in an interview yesterday, Mumba who is also a human rights activist said he had noted with sadness that a good number of delegates to provincial conventions in the constitution-making process were calling for the death penalty to be retained.

Mumba said the death penalty couldn't be justified as it lacked simple logic that a person executed for whatever crime does not face or endure punishment because he or she is already dead.

He said in a country where people proclaim to be Christians, the death penalty must not be entertained as it would be contrary to the teachings of Christianity and highly hypocritical.

"When someone is punished through the extinction of his or her life, it means that it ends there, the person is no more. One then wonders and questions the intelligence of such a punishment. It's very dehumanising and the people that remain traumatised are the executers themselves and the family of that person that remains in deep pain," Mumba said.

He said those supporting the death penalty must realise that it was too final a punishment in the delivery of justice.

Mumba said there was no killing that could be justified or legalised, adding that the termination of life either within or outside the law undermines human life and cannot be reconciled with respect for human rights.

"The chances that the punishment can be meted on you wrongly are high and once you are dead, that punishment cannot be reversed with any remedies. When we allow the existence of death penalty where convicts of murder, aggravated robbery and many other serious crimes would be hanged or killed in whatever form, then we are living a chance to the Constitution to lower itself to a level of the criminal himself because that Constitution will have no respect for human life," Mumba said.

He said well-meaning Zambians that claim to be true Christians must resist the idea of retaining the death penalty as it was cruel and cannot be used to protect society because it does not give chance to the convict to reform.

Mumba said those convicted of crimes that warrant death penalty must be given long sentences that would allow them to reform.

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