Botswana: Executions of two people show contempt for right to life under President Masisi’s government


Responding to the government of Botswana’s announcement that two people were executed on 8 February at Gaborone Central Prison after being sentenced to death in 2019 and losing their appeals in 2020, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa said:

The continued use of the death penalty in Botswana and the sharp rise in executions under President Mokgweetsi Masisi is a chilling reminder of the contempt with which Botswana authorities view the right to life.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for East and Southern Africa

“The continued use of the death penalty in Botswana and the sharp rise in executions under President Mokgweetsi Masisi is a chilling reminder of the contempt with which Botswana authorities view the right to life.

“Botswana, under President Masisi, is continuing to go against the regional trend by increasing its executions of people on a continent where many countries have either abolished the death penalty or are no longer executing people.

The death penalty is cruel and inhuman, and there is no credible evidence that it has a greater deterrent effect on crime than imprisonment
Deprose Muchena

“The death penalty is cruel and inhuman, and there is no credible evidence that it has a greater deterrent effect on crime than imprisonment. Instead of resorting to executions, the authorities should focus their efforts on strengthening the justice system, giving people fair trials and addressing the causes of crime. The vicious cycle of executions in Botswana must end. Amnesty International calls on President Masisi to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.”

Background

The Botswana Prisons Service announced in a statement the executions of 33-year-old Wedu Mosalagae and 29-year-old Kutlo Setima on 8 February at Gaborone Central Prison. They were both sentenced to death in 2019 for murder related offences. A total of six people have been executed since President Masisi’s presidential inauguration in November 2019.

The death penalty is still used for murder in Botswana, and Botswana is the only country in southern Africa that continues to carry out executions.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.