Capital punishment in Kenya remains a subject that has elicited a lot of debate on the approach that the country should take either towards its abolition or retention. The international trends have advocated towards the abolition of capital offences with most citing it as a violation of the fundamental right to life. The current scenario in Kenya is that whereas as a country there is a moratorium on the sentence, courts still continue issuing this sentence leading to over congestion in the prisons.
With regards to the law, there are a lot of gray areas with regards to implementation of capital punishment with many feeling that there is inequality with the sentences targeting the poor and that the same is not commensurate to the offence. The burden of proof for cases that attract the capital punishment is beyond reasonable doubt. Many times, this does not happen. Most convictions are done without conclusive evidence. Statistics indicate that over 85% of such cases where the accused person has been accorded a pro-bono lawyer by the court amount to convictions while the reverse is true for accused persons who engage the services of private lawyers. This huge disparity is a clear indication that the justice system is not without flaws and therefore the risk of executing innocent people is quite high.
The Power of mercy Advisory Committee together with KNCHR have been engaging members of the public in the debate on capital punishment and their recommendations, with a view of advising the president on the next step as a country.