Death penalty confirmed by Zambia’s court of appeal days before capital punishment scrapped. What happens now?
Zambia’s court of appeal has dealt with a sensational murder and arson case in a recent decision that highlights two problems. First, the court’s judgment of 16 December 2022 upheld the death penalty imposed on a woman accused of murdering her gym instructor boyfriend by setting him alight. Just days after the appeal court’s decision, however, Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema finally abolished the death penalty, leading the justice minister to comment that from now on, no court could impose the death penalty.
Mirriam Chilosha was convicted of murder and arson for which she was sentenced to death (for murder) and to life imprisonment (for arson) by Zambia’s high court. She had killed her gym instructor boyfriend, Jeremiah Mbawa, by setting him alight. In the process she also set fire to the house belonging to Floriana Lodge, where he was staying.