The announcement by the Prime Minister today that the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking may be amended to life imprisonment is welcomed and a step in the right direction.
I would, however, go further by saying that the sentence for drug trafficking should be dealt with on a case to case basis with perhaps a minimum jail sentence and not life imprisonment.
It must be remembered that most drug traffickers are actually drug mules, desperate to earn a living at the will of kingpins who do not go to the ground to sell.
As such, imposing a mandatory death penalty on these drug mules will not eradicate the problem, which are the kingpins themselves who must be stopped if we are serious in combating the menace of drug abuse.
Furthermore, in the event the mandatory death sentence is amended, it ought to apply retrospectively to all those currently on death row but have yet to be executed due to a moratorium imposed recently.
It makes no sense to allow would be drug traffickers a lighter sentence compared to those who have already been convicted as they are all charged for the same crime.
It is hoped the necessary amendments are tabled soonest, preferably in the next parliamentary sitting, as the uncertainty surrounding the question of whether the death penalty for drug trafficking would be abolished has been long outstanding.
Dated this 19th of February, 2020.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY