The popular slogan “all Christians should oppose death penalty” might not work for President Museveni anymore considering his speech on Thursday when he revealed that “he will no longer be merciful to those convicted and sentenced to death.”
Mr Museveni, who recently described himself as a part-time Christian, decries increasing crime in the nation.
“On the death penalty, I have not [been] assenting to hanging of convicts because of my Christian background but being lenient is causing people to think they can cause harm and get away with it. I will revise my position,” the President said at a function where he presided over the passing out of 919 prisons officers at the Luzira Prisons Training Academy yesterday.
The 919 included 706 warders and wardresses and 213 non-commissioned officers.
The official capacity for prisons in Uganda is 20,000, according to Mr Johnson Byabashaija, the Prisons head, they are continuously training prison officers to handle a whooping 51,000 inmates countrywide.
Should the President consent to hanging convicts, 74 death row inmates in Luzira Prisons will face the ordeal.
“There are 278 death row inmates in Luzira Maximum prisons. 204 of these have since appealed their conviction and are awaiting judgment,” sources reported. “The 74 convicts can only be saved from the hangman’s noose through the prerogative of mercy by the president.”
The debate among Christians
Biblical passages such as Genesis 9:6, Numbers 35:16, and Romans 13:3-4 have been used to support capital punishment. At the same time, passages such as Romans 2:1-4 and 2 Peter 3:9 speak of the awesome responsibility of human judgment and the riches of God’s “kindness, tolerance and patience,” intended to lead all people to repentance.
Among scholars, some have used the commandment translated in the King James Version of the Bible “Thou shalt not kill” as a prohibition of capital punishment.
Others purport, we must recognize that God has given government the authority to determine when capital punishment is due (Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:1-7).