Why Ruth Kamande might just escape being hanged

Ruth Kamande at the Mlimani law courts, PHOTO: COURTESY.

Mombasa,KENYA:Miss Lang’ata prisons, Ruth Kamande, and other death row inmates may just escape death if recommendations in a preliminary report by the Task Force on Review of the Mandatory Nature of the Death Penalty are taken into account.

In a preliminary report, the taskforce has recommended that all those sentenced to death to have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment as the death sentence is against the constitution.

It also recommended that all those sentenced to life apply for rehearing of their sentence; this however will not change the guilty verdict.

The taskforce led by Maryanne Kimani recommended changes to the Penal Code, the Prisons Act and the Kenya Defence Forces Act.

The 13 member taskforce was appointed by former Attorney General Githu Muigai to review the legislative framework on death penalty and recommend a guide to life sentencing.

The Supreme Court in December last year declared Section 204 of the penal code- that mandated capital punishment for anyone convicted with murder, robbery with violence or attempted robbery with violence- unconstitutional.

The team proposes an amendment to the Penal Code to give powers to the relevant Cabinet secretary to develop resentencing regulations.

A subcommittee should be created within the National Council of the Administration of Justice to monitor and facilitate the re-sentencing process.

Maryanne Kimani however noted that the Supreme Court did not scrap the death penalty but outlawed its mandatory nature.

“The judge or magistrate can give death sentences depending on the circumstances and upon consideration of the factors cited by the Supreme Court,” she said.

Regarding life imprisonment, the task force recommends the introduction of parole in suitable cases.

It wants a complete review of the statutory framework and revisions to the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee Act, 2011, to include the function of parole.

Ruth Kamande was sentenced to death last month after being found guilty of killing her boyfriend by stabbing him 22 times.