In response to an opinion by Robert Shivambu, Media Manager, Amnesty International’s East and Southern Africa, published in the Botswana Gazette of Wednesday 19 February, page 11, I wish to also opine that the author deliberately hoodwinks himself on the matter of the laws of Botswana. Death penalty in Botswana is not murder, but it is a lawful act. As a legitimate provision to mete lawful chastisement upon murderous criminals, the penal code in Botswana is still cherished and upheld by the population. It is not even a matter that you can accuse the president of the country of, “contempt for right to life”. The president has no power to change such a law. Unless that, for death penalty, Amnesty International agents wants to selectively advocate and prescribe autocracy so that the president removes such laws, and this to the vexation of the population. The contempt for right of life starts and ends with the criminal who murders the victim.
The statement that, “death penalty is still used to murder in Botswana””, is contemptuous and vituperating in many ways. Firstly, death penalty is an outcome of many years of judiciary processes, and this based on the laws of Botswana, and it is wrong for Amnesty International to come at the tail-end of such processes to affront a nation and its judicial system. Secondly, the criminals that are lawfully hanged have been tried and adjudged to have committed monstrous and heinous crimes in the society. Thirdly, unless we are in fantasy-land, who would not desire to legally mete justice to root out a criminal acts in a society? Fourthly, here in Botswana, the population is clamouring for justice in the form of hanging because criminals deprived other people of their precious life. So, unless one wants to slur and equate Botswana to a savage nation, hanging-rope excited country, it is uncalled for to criminalise what Botswana is doing by law.
The other wrong that Amnesty Internal does to us as a nation and society is that they are contented taking the stand in defence of criminals whose wrongdoings have been investigated and put under judiciary scrutiny and determined as punishable crime. What is their take when it comes to the victims of these murderous criminals? Parents, siblings, children and neighbours of victims of murder by felons are still suffering loss of their loved ones. When the murder victims met their fatal fate, they pleaded and no one stopped the murderer; they screamed in horror when the murderer’s weapons or arsenal were cruelly striking them, no one could help. The murderer, there, alone, violently took the law into his or her hands. So, these are the people that Amnesty International is standing by them to defend? Excuse me, but maybe we should start seeing Amnesty International paying legal fees to defend their beloved criminals; it could add something to our coffers! We will also see what they say about the evidence given on the callous crimes that our justice system try in courts. We should also see Amnesty International by the side of families of the victims of criminal murderers.
Amnesty International has no similar advocacy energy and wanton invectives when death penalties are occurring in the USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere. From a post-colonial perspective, it is just not right that we, as Botswana, can be questioned on what we do with our just laws by foreign agents who are causing disquiet to our society. We are sovereign, and free-thinking, and on that our conscience is unblemished.
Andy Chebanne (email@example.com; 71446166)