Zim to eliminate death penalty — Mnangagwa

 VP Mnangagwa

VP Mnangagwa

Takunda Maodza in ROME, Italy
Zimbabwe is making significant strides towards the elimination of the death penalty from its statutes as demonstrated by the removal of all women and persons aged below 21 from facing the death sentence, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

Addressing delegates attending the 9th International Meeting of the Ministers of Justice here yesterday, VP Mnangagwa said he was positive that Zimbabwe will soon abolish capital punishment.

He said he survived death penalty during the Rhodesian regime and knows “the tribulations faced by those on death row”.

“The legislative history of Zimbabwe in so far as the death penalty is concerned demonstrates that the country is making significant strides towards the elimination of capital punishment,” said VP Mnangagwa.

“The exclusion of all women and the increase of the minimum age of execution from 18 to 21 years under the current Constitution of Zimbabwe is a positive step towards the abolition of the death penalty.”

Under the old Constitution, only pregnant women and persons below the age of 18 were exempted from the death penalty.

“A lot of criticism has been levelled against the country to the effect that these constitutional provisions, instead of promoting gender balance under the criminal justice system, are actually discriminatory against male offenders,” said VP Mnangagwa.

“This discriminatory provision was maintained at the referendum after realisation by the majority that the most heinous and ruinous offences were actually at the instigation of the males than females.”

VP Mnangagwa said as leaders in Government, they noted the concerns raised and will address them at the opportune time.

“Surely, we will not hesitate to expunge capital punishment from our laws,” he said.

VP Mnangagwa said the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs had launched campaigns to educate people about the new Constitution and emphasis was on the abolition of the death penalty.

He said Zimbabwe was very aware of, and committed to its obligations under the various international human rights instruments she has ratified and acceded to, adding that steps have been taken to ensure the national law was in conformity with international human rights norms.

“The country underwent the peer review process under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, wherein it accepted most of the recommendations to improve the human rights situation,” said VP Mnangagwa.

“One such recommendation it accepted was in relation to the abolition of the death penalty.

“The country also accepted the recommendations to consider ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to take measures to abolish the death penalty.”

VP Mnangagwa said the objective of the criminal justice system was now increasingly being viewed from a rehabilitative point of view than from an incarceration and retributive perspective.

“Having survived the death penalty myself, I know the tribulations faced by those on death row,” he said.

“The moment a sentence is pronounced that you are going to die by hanging, the whole world collapses on you.

“The death penalty is, in fact, a flagrant violation of the right to life and dignity.”

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  • Judas Iscariot

    Can anybody tell me why, it’s more humane being killed by Zimbabwean women,and not by man? I bet this is one of the few times, Zimbabwean women won’t be asking for equal rights.

    • Mabaleka

      Its called culture & tradition. We are not slaves to the constitution especially in as far as human rights and equality and respect of human life is concerned. The law is made by the people for the people to serve the people, not the other way around. We don’t serve the law neither are we made for the law. What we believe is in the interest of our country and the people, we will do. We don’t apologize or explain to anyone. As long as majority agree. The ultimate goal is to eradicate death penalty, as no-one has the right to kill anyone on earth.

  • CuriousCat

    It’s a gentler stab, you die gently

  • Biggie Taapatsi

    But you know the VP has consistently opposed the death penalty. He has said he will not sign any execution orders for as long as he is the Min of Justice

  • Zvarevashe

    All quite normal sentiments expected to be voiced on public international platforms, but what of death penalties and disappearances imposed using Government security forces eliminating perceived Zanu-PF opponents?
    Where is Itai Dzamara?

  • omahn

    Unfortunately the Zim masses think otherwise. As do myself. The basis is that we assume our justice system makes thorough effort to eliminate any element of doubt when convicting. If you don’t value someone else’s life why should we value yours? As simple as that!