Mashudu Netsianda Senior Reporter
GUTA Ra Mwari church has come out in full support of the abolition of the death penalty in favour of life sentences. This emerged during the church’s annual camp meeting which started on Friday in Bulawayo’s Tshabalala suburb. Speaking during the closing ceremony yesterday, the church’s secretary-general, Evangelist Moses Manzini, said capital punishment was too harsh and a sin against humanity.
The church also commended the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court outlawing child marriages with a declaration that said neither boys nor girls can lawfully marry until the age of 18.
“As a church we’re of the view that death penalty should be abolished because it’s too harsh and clearly an act of denying a fellow human being the right to life.
“We’re of the view that life imprisonment is somehow more appropriate than sending a murderer to the hangman’s noose.
“It’s only God who can take someone’s life and that’s our stance,” said Manzini.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is a death penalty survivor, has also thrown his weight behind the anti-death penalty campaign.
VP Mnangagwa, who is also in charge of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, last year pledged to push for the abolition of capital punishment.
The Constitution outlaws the death penalty for all women, as well as men who were either under 21 or over 70.
Zimbabwe is among 36 African countries that still have the death sentence in their statute books. However, no convict has been executed since 2004, one reason being that there has been no hangman.
Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators and Former Political Detainees Deputy Minister, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube who was the guest of honour at the church meeting, said churches play a pivotal role in promoting moral values.
“We’re proud of our churches which play a leading role when it comes to moral issues. I’m particularly impressed with Guta Ra Mwari church, an indigenous church that still upholds the principle of encouraging young women to preserve their virginity until they get married,” said the Deputy Minister.