Minister spares 97 death row inmates

Minister Mnangagwa

Minister Mnangagwa

Daniel Nemukuyu   in VICTORIA FALLS
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he will not sign death warrants for 97 murder convicts on death row because the sentence is too harsh and must be done away with.Although the Constitution provides for the penalty, Minister Mnangagwa said he still believed that it was unfair.

Officially opening the Sadc Lawyers Association’s 15th Annual General Meeting and Conference here yesterday, Minister Mnangagwa said he refused to sign the death warrants.

The two-day conference that opened yesterday runs under the theme: “Strengthening the Rule of Law and Good Governance in the Sadc Region: A call for Transparent and Accountable Leadership”.

“As we speak, we have 97 inmates who were sentenced to death by the court, but are still awaiting execution,” said Minister Mnangagwa.

“One of them is female, while 96 others are males. Fortunately, my signature as Justice Minister is required for them to be hanged and I am not giving it. That is why execution has not been done.”

In terms of the new Constitution, women are no longer being sentenced to death and the only woman featuring on the death row would automatically be saved.

Minister Mnangagwa, who escaped a death penalty during the Smith regime, said the new Constitution had an effect of saving more people from the hangman’s noose.

“The same Constitution saves offenders below 21 years and those above 70-years-old,” he said.

“This is a giant step in the fight against the death penalty.”

Minister Mnangagwa’s views on the death penalty came at a time the Law Society of Zimbabwe was appealing to Government to  urgently amend legal provisions for imposing the death penalty.

Former LSZ president and a top Bulawayo lawyer Mr Josphat Tshuma said judges were having challenges on sentencing murder convicts because the provision was vague.

“Death penalty in terms of the new Constitution can only be imposed under aggravating circumstances, but there is no provision that explains what the aggravating circumstances are,” he said.

“The Constitution left it for the judges and the legislators to define the aggravating circumstances.” Mr Tshuma, on behalf of the Zimbabwean lawyers, requested Minister Mnangagwa to convey the message to the relevant authorities for the legal lacuna to be rectified.

“We are requesting the minister to take the matter up so that Government speedily comes up with an Act of Parliament explaining the aggravating circumstances warranting death penalty,” said Mr Tshuma.

Sadc lawyers at the conference contributed US$10 000 to assist the family of a Swazi lawyer Mr Thulani Maseko and a journalist who were recently jailed two years for contempt of court that arose in the execution of his legal duties.

The Sadc lawyers were of the view that the two were wrongly convicted as they were simply exercising their right to freedom of expression.

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  • free _the_system

    the constitution was put in place by the people now wat gives 1 man the right to say it is wrong or right.he must simply do his job of signing the papers otherwise RESIGN CDE minister.

    • G Dawg

      When he gets sentenced to death he hopes to be pardoned too. Catch the drift?

  • JS

    Since the constitution allows for death penalty, it is illegal for Munangagwa to operate outside the constitution and should in fact be fired for failing to implement his constitutional mandate. I leave it to Maduku to educate the minister that he should perform in line with constitution not personal views.

    • Chiguri Mabarwe

      You are missing the point. The constitution is vague on aggrevating circumstances. He won’t sign unless that has been clarified. He is a noble minister.

  • witty_mac

    The problem with the constitution is that it was given to us as a whole. We were supposed to vote for the entire thing or reject it, not specific clauses. The very fact that no Zimbabwean wants the Hangman’s job explains Zimbabweans attitude towards the death sentence. Hapana anoda ngozi.

  • ThembaniNyoni

    The provisions of death penalty in the constitution are sexist and ageist. Death penalty should be completely struck down or else apply to all adults- male, female and the eldery.

  • Bhanditi Chikweme

    pay me good money and i will kill the 97 bastards in a wink…live by the sword die by the sword….ngozi my ***!!

  • Mangwende we Chinhoyi

    The Observer you make me think twice. There are some gruesome, intentional murders which are out of this world and some are so haunting even to listen to. Definitely some murder acts require the death sentence and also a murder is a murder whether female or male.

  • Munationalist

    Very funny how human mind malfunction, you can not fill a pit by digging another one, human science and intelligence have developed anything but a human being, who are you to destroy what you cant make? You can not punish a person by sending him where you don’t know lest you sent him to heaven or paradise. Murderers must simply rot in prison for life, or near life only returning into society to give their testimonies to others.

  • punungwe

    Is it the minister or the president who signs death warrants? Vanoda kugara nhaka munhu ari mupenyu

    • Chiguri Mabarwe

      The President can make what them guys call a presidential pardon. After its all said and done, the court finds a person guilt of a capital offense and the nice judge says guys go put this killer to sleep, rational eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, proponents of you know what feel justice has been served.

      After the paperwork is completed the highest authority of justice, the honorable minister makes sure protocol was followed signs the final document for a dude or chick to rova bhaghidhi through hanging. Kunyange uka chema, kukumbira ruregerero, kudetembera, kuwozha havamboita tsitsi vanhu vacho. Kunyange ukadaidzira uchiti mukoma ndakaura nekurwadziwa pahuro ivo vongoti ifa, wofemera mudenga mai nhiyawe pfahu pfahu ndiye tasa chisarayi. Saka pamutemo weZimbabwe munhu asati arangwa kodiwa kuti Gurukota rezvemutemo ndiro rinosayina kuti munhu asiye nyemba.

      Kana munhu akapomedzerwa mhosva, dare rapuwa owombo hwekunyepa munhu wotoziva kuti pako papera. Kune dzimwe nyika havatongere rufu asi hupenyu mujeri. Umbowo hukabuda pachena kuti munhu akapomedzerwa haana kupara mhaka kana munhu aradzikwa hachadzoke asi akatongerwa hupenyu mujeri oburitswa. Vamwe vakapomedzerwa mhosva kutopuhwa mamiriyoni emadhora.

      KuAmerica havadi kuti even mhondi irwadziwe pavanenge voradzika munhu kuhope dzisingadzokwe. Munhu anopfekerwa jekiseni rinoita kuti munhu amborara sezviya munhu achiitwa operation. Akakotsira kudaro ozobayiwa jekiseni rinomisa moyo shumba pfahu pfahu ndiyetasa chisarayi.

  • Marko Makeche

    A positive thinking from minister E D Munangagwa ,Dont kill those convicts let them work for nothing the rest of their lives.Thank you Honourable Minister. WE KNOW THEY MUST DIE BUT NOONE MUST KILL THEM.