Donations to the Community of Sant'Egidio are tax deductible
under current regulations

Also this year it can target the 5x1000 to the Community of Sant'Egidio
Write the number 80191770587 in the tax return

Andrea Riccardi: on the web

Andrea Riccardi: on social networks

Andrea Riccardi: press review

change language
you are in: no death penalty - news contacting usnewsletterlink

Support The Community

 
February 4 2009 | UGANDA

Uganda

The story of Edmay Mpagi, 18 years inside death row for having killed a man staying alive

 
printable version

Daily Monitor Online

Abolish death penalty; Uganda’s hands are bloody enough

By Nicholas Sengoba

Feb 3, 2009

Last week I met Edmay Mpagi who in 1982 was sentenced to death for murder. He spent 18 years waiting to be executed only to be “pardoned” in 2000 after it was discovered that the man he had “killed” – George William Wandyaka - was alive and kicking! Wandyaka died of natural causes in 2002 over two decades after he was supposed to have been murdered.

While on death row, Mpagi witnessed and survived the executions of 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, and 1999. Many of the victims who Mpagi shared a meal with went to the gallows insisting on their innocence.

Some or all may have been guilty but the fact that Mpagi’s case which went through the appeals process and was failed by learned judges, casts serious doubts on this.

Mpagi’s supposed accomplice, a cousin; Fred Masembe, passed on in jail in 1985 due to complications associated with fear and stress, related with the thought of imminent death that hangs ubiquitously around the condemned section of Luzira Prison.

Mpagi’s tragic experience brought to mind another infamous one in which the accused Ms Night Kulabako was lucky that the person whose death she had allegedly ordered, turned up in court to witness the proceedings, probably out of curiosity or providence! But she also served time on remand as the police went through the process of investigation and gathering “incriminating evidence.”

For those who were too young there is the fresh rape case of Uganda Vs Dr Warren Kizza Kifefe Besigye in which one of the witnesses, the then Director of CID turned up in, armed with a long tale of lies and fraudulent documents that were poorly pieced together. The defendant did not even bother to defend himself. The case collapsed under the weight of its own lies and contradictions.

The pathetic state of the police leaves it subject to manipulation by the rich and powerful. In Mpagi’s case, a grudge against his father and uncle saw the police put together a case of robbery, which later turned into one of murder.

Even when well-intentioned, the police are too poorly facilitated to surely carry out investigations that will produce evidence to incriminate an accused person beyond reasonable doubt. The Lord help us if such evidence convinces court and leads to a sentence of death.

Then in a county where almost half the population lives on less than a dollar a day, not many accused persons can afford to retain a lawyer of their own choice for the length of the trial.

The indigent lawyers or State briefs that are provided to the accused by the State are in some instances not committed and dedicated to the task of defending the accused. In Mpagi’s case, he first met his lawyer in court!

From then on, discussing evidence and strategy was an uphill task as the lawyer always insisted that as a learned person he “knew what he was doing” and did not necessarily rely on the input of the accused.

We also have to consider that the (irreversible when executed) right to life is left in the hands of judges who being human are subject to judgmental failures like the rest of us.

In 1988, Justice Moses Kalanda, who was found guilty of fraudulently using another’s academic certificates in his academic pursuits before becoming a judge, rightly or wrongly sentenced to death Lt. Stansilus Ssajjabi and Muhammed Kyeyune for treason.

Since the Supreme Court in the case of Suzan Kigula vs the Attorney General left it to Parliament to decide the fate of the constitutionality of the death penalty, this is my advice to the legislators.

It comes from English jurist William Blackstone. “Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

For the sake of the salvation and safety of that one Fred Masembe, Edmay Mpagi and Night Kulabako, let us abolish the death penalty.

If the State as a murderer in its own right is thirsty for human blood, let it be satisfied with what it is getting from its failures.

Let those who are guilty of murder and genocide by stealing with impunity the money intended for the victims of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis go scot free.

Let those who pocket the money for proper infrastructure and end up building roads that lead to rampant fatal accidents enjoy themselves without reprimand.

Let those who fly their children abroad at the expense of the taxpayer to deliver babies while pregnant mothers die in labour in run-down facilities at home “have a blast” as young people say.

Let those who have made a killing as merchants of death in the wars of Uganda by failing to protect innocent people because they have to draw the salaries of ghost soldiers and get a cut by purchasing junk helicopters and junk tanks prosper despite the “envy” of the Bayuda as famous singer Chameleon would sing.

The State has enough blood on its hands. Upholding the death penalty only adds more.

RELATED NEWS
November 29 2016
BELARUS

Death convict Ivan Kulesh executed

November 29 2016

On November 30th join the World Day of the Cities for Life against the death penalty


How, when and where to join all over the world. The map of the cities, latest news, video. Visit this page for updates and share it! The hashtag is #nodeathpenalty
November 29 2016
UNITED STATES
Join the lay Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio

Various locations throughout the Florida dioceses will again participate in the International Day of Cities for Life


You are invited to attend an event in your area! Cities for Life, Against the Death Penalty
November 21 2016
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
The results at the Third Committee of the General Assembly, the committee regarding issues relating to human rights, show momentum against the death penalty in the world

Death Penalty: the yes vote increases at the Third UN Committee, reaching a total of 115


Its resolution is debated and voted every other year
November 8 2016
KENYA

Death penalty: Sant'Egidio in Nairobi. From commuting sentences to humanizing society

November 5 2016
ZIMBABWE

10 death row inmates freed

all related news

ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 28 2016
AP

High court to examine mental disability, death penalty issue
November 12 2016
Internazionale

Si rafforza la pena di morte negli Stati Uniti
November 11 2016

Al liceo classico “Socrate” di Bari, conferenza “Non c’è giustizia senza vita”
October 24 2016
New York Times

The Death Penalty, Nearing Its End
June 4 2016
The Washington Post

Meet the red-state conservatives fighting to abolish the death penalty
all press-related

VIDEO PHOTOS
4:04
Motion Grafic "cities for life" 2012 -
4:14
Motion Grafic cities for life FR -
3:01
Promo Engl 2013 citiesforlife -

72 visits

232 visits

49 visits

53 visits

61 visits
all the related media