Crime & Investigation

Ssegona, Kulaigye Clash on Death Sentence

Panelists; Col. Felix Kulayigye the UPDF Chief Political Commissar, Solome Nakaweesi (moderator), FHRI's Lucy Peace Nantume and MP Medard Segona during the discussion on death penalty at Piato Restaurant on Tuesday

Proponents of the amendments in the death sentence law in Uganda want government to consider other punitive mechanisms for people convicted of murder, decease rape, thumb defilement and other crimes regarded as ‘serious’.

They argue that despite the existence of the controversial death penalty, it has done little to deter similar behaviour as these crimes continue to increase.

In 2015, the Law Revisions (Penalties in criminal matters) Bill was proposed in parliament by Serere Woman MP, Hon. Alice Alaso.

Header advertisement

It seeks to amend the penal code, Anti-terrorism and UPDF Acts by removing all references made to death sentence (due to infringement of rights) and convert them to life imprisonment.

Busiro East MP, Hon. Medard Sseggona who supports the Bill said, “Government needs to ask itself whether it should continue to kill people – the only difference is that it kills in an official manner.”

Speaking Tuesday at a forum in Kampala, Sseggona courts should “exercise their discretion and consider life imprisonment instead”.

The discussion was organized by Center for Policy Analysis at Piato Restaurant.

He went on to explain that challenges within Uganda’s judicial system including corruption, illegal detention and conspiracy by the state against its citizens must be addressed.

Lucy Peace Nantume, a lawyer with Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) suggested that Uganda should move from mandatory death sentence and give judges discretionary powers.

“Even the ICC (International Criminal Court) which is the highest instrument for punishing perpetrators of serious crimes doesn’t apply death sentence but life imprisonment. What amounts to serious crimes in the case of Uganda?” Nantume asked.


It is worth noting that Uganda hasn’t made any executions for convicts sentenced to death for the last 10 years and a total of 213 convicts await their fate.

During President Museveni’s thirty year tenure, he has signed off only 2 executions.

With these statistics, it remains uncertain as to whether government’s reluctance in executing its duty deems the law irrelevant.

Col. Felix Kulayigye the army Chief Political Commissar was part of Tuesday’s panel discussion and in his view, death penalty serves to protect social order as well as safeguarding the society.

He said, “Death sentence is retribution because a criminal deserves the punishment just like the person he/she killed deserved to live.”

Much as government supports certain provisions in the Bill seeking to amend the death penalty law, it maintains that serious crimes violate individual rights and ought to be punished with death.

Similarly the army opposes the abolition of death sentence but the Prisons service supports all Bill proposals and wants the law abolished.


Header advertisement
To Top