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Archbishop Duncan-Williams Supports Calls to Abolish Death Penalty

Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, the presiding archbishop and general overseer of Action Chapel International ministry, recently expressed his support for the abolition of the death penalty in Ghana. In a statement, he acknowledged the various arguments presented for and against the abolishment and emphasized that it aligns with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. He stated that since God created life, only God has the authority to take it away. Consequently, he wholeheartedly supports the objective of the bill to abolish the death penalty.

Currently, Members of Parliament are divided over the report of the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on the Criminal Offences Amendment Act, which seeks to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment. The death penalty, inherited from the colonial administration, has historically been a punishment for offenses such as murder, attempted murder, genocide, piracy, and smuggling of gold or diamonds. However, Ghana has not executed any offenders since 1993.

During the parliamentary debate on the amendment bill, lawmakers expressed differing views on the abolishment of the death penalty. MP Cletus Avoka of Zebilla Constituency voiced his disagreement, considering the arguments presented in favor of the motion to be unmeritorious and alarming.

Archbishop Duncan-Williams, in his statement, highlighted the contradiction of condemning killing while using it as a form of punishment in society. He emphasized that as children of God, people are called to live in harmony, love their neighbors, and show mercy to the oppressed. Citing biblical guidance, he referred to Romans 12:19-21, which urges believers not to take revenge but to leave room for the wrath of God, to overcome evil with good.

The archbishop’s stance on the abolition of the death penalty reflects his commitment to promoting a society based on mercy, compassion, and the teachings of the Scriptures.

Below is the full statement by Archbishop Duncan-Williams


I have been carefully following the ongoing debate currently before Parliament following a motion moved by Hon. Francis-Xavier Sosu for the amendment of the Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and Armed Forces Act, 1962 (Act 105) to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment.

I wish to congratulate the Rt. Hon. Speaker and Members of Parliament for your work thus far and believe that the debate will lead to a successful outcome with Members voting in favour of the bills.

Over the years, I have listened to arguments for and against abolition of the death penalty in Ghana. Abolition of the death penalty is aligned with the Holy Scriptures. God created life and God is the only one who can take life. This is why I am in full support of the Bills’ objective to abolish the death penalty.

As a society, we cannot condemn killing and yet use killing as a form of punishment.

As children of God, we are to live in harmony, love our neighbours as ourselves and show mercy to the oppressed and afflicted. The Scriptures give us guidance: in Romans 12:19-21, the Bible says “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The Bible also says in 2 Peter 3:9 “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” In Ezekiel 33:11, it is written “God does not desire the death of anyone, not even the wicked.” And finally, in Matthew 5:7 the Bible says “Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.”

I therefore call on H.E. the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Vice President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice of the Republic, the Military High Command, the Police High Command, the Prisons Service Board, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Religious Leaders, Traditional Rulers, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Media, and all relevant Stakeholders to support calls for the abolition of death penalty in Ghana.

I especially call on Members of Parliament to be of good courage and lead the way to ensure passage of the Bills to substitute life imprisonment for the death Penalty. I understand that if passed, Ghana will become the 29th African country to remove the mandatory death penalty from its statute books. Indeed, the time is now.

You have my support and prayers.


Archbishop N. Duncan-Williams

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