June 14, 2024
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Duncan-Williams backs calls for abolition of death penalty

The presiding archbishop and founder of the Action Chapel International Ministry, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, has voiced his strong support for the abolishment of the death penalty in Ghana.

In a comprehensive statement, Archbishop Duncan-Williams acknowledged the various arguments put forth both in favour of and against the abolition of the death penalty in the country. However, he emphasised that abolition aligns closely with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

He firmly stated that since God is the creator of life, it is only God who holds the authority to take life. Therefore, he wholeheartedly supports the objective of the bill seeking to abolish the death penalty.

Currently, Members of Parliament (MPs) find themselves divided over the report of the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on the Criminal Offences Amendment Act, which aims to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment as a punishment.

Archbishop Duncan-Williams, in his statement, stressed the contradiction within society’s stance when it condemns killing while simultaneously utilising killing as a form of punishment.

He said as children of God, individuals are called to live in harmony, love their neighbours as themselves, and show mercy to the oppressed and afflicted. Drawing guidance from the Scriptures, he referenced Romans 12:19-21, which states, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

READ Full Statement: Archbishop Duncan-Williams

ARCHBISHOP DUNCAN-WILLIAMS BACKS CALLS TO ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY

I have been carefully following the ongoing debate currently before Parliament following a motion moved by Hon. Francis-Xavier Sosu for the amendment of the Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and Armed Forces Act, 1962 (Act 105) to replace the Death penalty with life imprisonment.

I wish to congratulate the Rt. Hon. Speaker and Members of Parliament for your work thus far and believe that the debate will lead to a successful outcome with Members voting in favour of the bills.

Over the years, I have listened to arguments for and against the abolition of the death penalty in Ghana. The abolition of the death penalty is aligned with the Holy Scriptures. God created life and God is the only one who can take life. This is why I am in full support of the Bills’ objective to abolish the death penalty.

As a society, we cannot condemn killing and yet use killing as a form of punishment.

As children of God, we are to live in harmony, love our neighbours as ourselves and show mercy to the oppressed and afflicted. The Scriptures give us guidance: in Romans 12:19-21, the Bible says “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The Bible also says in 2 Peter 3:9 “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” In Ezekiel 33:11, it is written “God does not desire the death of anyone, not even the wicked.” And finally, in Matthew 5:7 the Bible says “Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.”

I, therefore, call on H.E. the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Vice President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice of the Republic, the Military High Command, the Police High Command, the Prisons Service Board, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Religious Leaders, Traditional Rulers, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Media, and all relevant stakeholders to support calls for the abolition of death penalty in Ghana.

I especially call on Members of Parliament to be of good courage and lead the way to ensure the passage of the Bills to substitute life imprisonment for the Death Penalty. I understand that if passed, Ghana will become the 29th African country to remove the mandatory death penalty from its statute books. Indeed, the time is now.

You have my support and prayers.

Signed,

Archbishop N. Duncan-Williams

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