92 death row inmates spared . . . Zim moves towards removal of capital punishment

Takunda Maodza recently in ROME, Italy
NINETY-TWO prisoners on death row in Zimbabwe will not be executed as the country’s leadership is convinced it is only God who has the right to take away life, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

The death penalty remains in the Constitution after Zimbabweans voted for its retention during consultations that led to the drafting of the new home grown Constitution.

Addressing Justice Ministers from across the world attending a conference on the abolition of the death penalty in Rome, Italy on Tuesday, Mnangagwa said the death penalty was a remnant of colonial laws that ought to be scrapped.

Mnangagwa oversees the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

“Historically under the Munhumutapa Empire we didn’t have the death penalty. It came with the British. They introduced nine crimes that attracted the death penalty. For 100 years, they didn’t hang any British criminals but the African people,” said Mnangagwa.

He said the number of crimes attracting the death penalty had been whittled down to only treason and murder under aggravated circumstances.

Zimbabwe has also shown its willingness to do away with capital punishment as evidenced by the removal of women, persons aged below 21 and above 71 from the death penalty.

“We agreed as leadership that we don’t have the right to take away life. It’s the responsibility of the Maker,” said VP Mnangagwa.

He narrated how he escaped the death penalty under the Ian Smith regime when he was spared the hangman’s noose on account of young age.

Mnangagwa said the spirit of revenge must be replaced with that of love as an eye for an eye makes the world blind.

“We have 92 inmates on death cell, we’re not going to execute them,” he said.

“We will reach a decision on whether we should retain the death penalty as leaders.”

The conference brought together Justice Ministers from all over the world to find common ground for the promotion of elimination of capital punishment.

The conference was organised by a Rome-based Catholic organisation – Sant Egidio.

The organisation is renowned for brokering peace talks that ended the Mozambican civil war which killed thousands.

During his visit, Mnangagwa met the Italian President Sergio Mattarella and senior officials from foreign affairs.

The Italians are understood to have pledged to strengthen bilateral and economic cooperation between Harare and Rome.

Italy is a member of the European Union but the administration in Rome has not gone out of its way to punish Zimbabwe in a manner shown by other members of the bloc.

Mnangagwa returned home yesterday evening.


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  • jahman

    The majority during the Constitution process said they wanted the death penalty for thugs who murder, now one man is championing his own views over others. Why do these 92 deserve to live after committing heinous crimes like murder. Enforce the death penalty, we the majority want it!

    • theza

      they should be put in front of the firing squad

      • khu

        Ngwena says there was no death penalty in the Munhumutapa empire this is not true as in the past they will chase you away from the village knowing very well that by night fall you will be devoured by predators, they did not do the killing but will chase you away so that the animals do the rest

        • xhiba

          the death penalty when its there it encourages hard work and honest living and also protects society from jungle laws like those who are strong from robbing and killing the weak, surely there has to be a solution to protect us from being murdered, if death penalty is removed then what is the penalty for murderers, will they be locked or away

  • Tongai Mbewe

    1. stop lying Emmerson , we all know there is no hang man in Zim because no-one wants the job or has the desired qualifications , 2. stop being a hypocrite , soldiers kill , your cio kills , and now you blasphemously say GOD is the only one with a right to take away life , amanga ndoda

  • God of War

    If they can spare criminals from the death penalty because only God can take a persons life; why then do they kill and maim people when its time for elections.

    • khanka

      Kikikiki thus very true, they are hypocrites they kill when it suits them

  • blarazonke

    He is trying to make peace with the Gukurahundi episode. He must be seeing things in his dreams. We can’t wait for God to take away the likes of Chidhumo, Masendeke and other murderers like that blood sucker from Masvingo toiling at Khami prison. Lets go the N Korean way. I don’t think they were ever a British colony.

    • mjahunda

      chidumo and masendeke were hanged long time ago

      • blarazonke

        I know, they were “unlucky”. There are some murderers who have been on death row well be4 these two notorious rebels. They are going to benefit.

  • Doppelganger

    somebody is preparing for the future here…

  • theza

    then if the death penalty is being done away with why not sentence them to 60 years or life in prison remember that they are dangerous criminals who do not fear taking human life why not protect the society by keeping them away totally. kumele bafele ejele. Just yesterday there was a story of someone who slit his brothers neck in cold blood and you speak of forgiving such people, the death penalty exists even in the bible e.g. Jesus was crucified