Rights groups want death penalty to go

Minister Mnangagwa

Minister Mnangagwa

Herald Reporters
Human rights lobby groups have called for the removal of the death penalty from the country’s statutes, saying the punishment is inhuman and a deprivation of the right to life.Representatives of Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, Padare and Amnesty International yesterday lobbied for the abolishment of capital punishment while commemorating the World Day of the Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.

They commended the amendment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe to spare women, men below 21 and those above 70 from hanging, but urged the Government to go a step further through scrapping the punishment.

Padare director Mr Calvin Hazangwe said no human being regardless of gender had the right to suffer  the death penalty.

He said there was unequal treatment of men between 21 and 70 years who can face the death penalty.

“The new Constitution now has a provision that partially abolishes the death penalty in that it still acknowledges or retains the death penalty against men aged between 21 and 70, whilst it has abolished the execution of women, including those on the death row and men above 70 and below 21,” he said.

“Men and women are equal irrespective of gender and the law should be applied equally because as a country we have been progressively promoting messages that have been promoting gender equality.”

Speaking at the same event, Amnesty International campaign co-ordinator Mrs Vongai Chikwanda said the execution of people will not provide solutions to the high rate of crime.

She said there were no excuses for retaining the death penalty as it was a piece of legislation which was applied by the minority white government during the colonial era.

“We oppose death penalty in all cases without exception as the violation of one of the most fundamental human rights, which is the right to life,” said Mrs Chikwanda.

“It is an ultimate cruel, inhuman, degrading punishment.”

Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association board chairperson Mrs Sarah Moyo said men and women on death row suffer mental anguish.

“An alternative should be the provision of life sentences which give the prisoners a chance to rehabilitate,” she said. “We do not want people to be murdered in cold blood.”

The call by the civil society groups come after Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa said Cabinet was going to review the death penalty.

Cde Mnangagwa, who survived the death penalty at the hands of the Rhodesian regime on a technicality, has also refused to sign death warrants for the 97 inmates on death row, saying the practice is cruel.


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  • mpengo

    And what about the right to life of the murdered?

    What do you think will happen when murderous South African criminals find out that they can kill in Zim as carelessly as they do so in SA.

    You’re narrowly focusing on your mandates without taking into full account why there’s such a harsh sentence and what the repercussions would be if you succeeded in having it abolished

    • Ins Ane Sad Hussein

      Adopt Sharia for instant justice.

  • Bvunzawabaya

    So its human to kill someone and you become humane yourself—enough to keep the murderer on tax payers money–damn. Just look at SA–people are killed like chicken.The death penalty must remain to deter gruesome murders. Nope

    • Ins Ane Sad Hussein

      Sharia is the best.

  • pamuchato

    Death penalty must be removed. Its inhuman.

    • Ins Ane Sad Hussein

      Why don’t you come here in IS and tell that to the Caliph and see if you can scratch the back of your head. The death penalty is quite human? You are probably right because without a head you can’t be a human.

  • Wafawanaka

    God said do not kill. What I am not sure about is the part of kuchenura nyika through the blood of the killer. So people who kill must be killed. What is senseless to God is using the same penalty for political expediency in a democracy.

    • Ins Ane Sad Hussein

      Democracy, what a joke. Think Celiphate folks and come over here in IS. If you question us your head will be in the overnight mail to Harare.

    • Ins Ane Sad Hussein

      People who kill must be killed? Are you sure sbout that? Please don’t scare me and the other jihadists here.

  • Ins Ane Sad Hussein

    Or using sharia law.