‘America, You Next?’ Ghana Bans The Death Penalty 30 Years After Last Execution

The country of Ghana has had a change of heart, as it has voted to get rid of the death penalty, ABC News reports.

Ghana’s parliament reversed the severe punishment after more than 30 years for every crime except high treason, deeming it “inhumane.” The vote was passed on July 25, and Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, is expected to sign it into law.

Human rights advocates such as Enoch Jengre, program officer of Ghana’s Legal Resource Center, are celebrating the change. “Ghana is upholding the constitutional and fundamental human right of everyone,” Jengre said. “No human being or institution should have the right to take the life of another.”

Once a standard practice in certain African nations, capital punishment is becoming less common now, with Ghana’s last state execution held in 1993. More than 25 African countries banned the practice altogether, but Ghana and 14 others did everything but stop executions since 2022, as reported by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

With the new change, 176 death row inmates, including six women, will now serve life in prison.

There are detractors, however. “It is going to encourage some people to engage in crime knowing that they will only end up in prison after conviction,” Raymond Kuudaah, a Ghanaian social worker, opined.

Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu, the lawyer and politician behind the bill, says the decision was made with the families of former victims in mind. “I have seen firsthand that the death penalty does not bring a sense of justice or closure to the families of crime victims, and neither does it deter offenders,” Sosu said, according to The Guardian.

“It was my view that we as a nation were better than this. I introduced these bills because I wanted the courts to cease imposing an inhuman punishment.”

Close to 900 executions were recorded in 2022, up 53% since 2021. In the past five years, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, and Zambia have abolished the death penalty.