Ghana’s parliament on Tuesday voted to abolish the death penalty, making the country the latest of several African nations that have moved to repeal capital punishment in recent years.
No one has been executed in Ghana since 1993, although 176 people were on death row as of last year, according to the Ghana prisons service.
The new bill will amend the state’s Criminal Offences Act to substitute life imprisonment for the death penalty, according to a parliamentary committee report. President Nana Akufo-Addo still has to assent for the law to take effect.
“This is a great advancement of the human rights record of Ghana,” said Francis-Xavier Sosu, the parliamentarian who tabled the bill.
“We have conducted research, from the constitutional review to opinion polls, and they all show that majority of Ghanaians want the death penalty removed,” he told Reuters.
Ghana is the 29th country to abolish the death penalty in Africa and the 124th globally, according to The Death Penalty Project, a London-based NGO which said it worked alongside partners in Ghana to help get the law changed.
Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Zambia are among the latest African states to have ended capital punishment in the last two years.