Mnangagwa: Zim may scrap death penalty

VICE PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says government will consider scrapping the death penalty.

Survivor ... VP Emmerson Mnangagwa

Survivor … VP Emmerson Mnangagwa

At the moment, the death penalty is only handed down to men convicted of murder.

For years now, Mnangagwa has been at the forefront of the campaign against capital punishment after he faced the hangman’s noose during the liberation struggle under the Rhodesian regime.

Reports said Mnangagwa told delegates at the 9th International Meeting of the Ministers of Justice in Italy on Tuesday that Zimbabwe was moving towards the “total elimination” of the death penalty.

This comes after two key amendments were recently made to the country’s laws. According to recent changes, women and under 21s are exempted from the death sentences.

In the recent past, condemned prisoners who have been waiting for decades to be hanged have trooped to the courts appealing against their sentences on the grounds that they were a violation of their rights.

According to reports, Mnangagwa appeared to agree as he told the delegates that capital punishment was indeed a flagrant violation of human rights.

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

Mnangagwa is also Zimbabwe’s minister of justice. Zimbabwe has not hanged anybody for more than a decade now and it is unlikely that that would happen while Mnangagwa was in charge because of his stance.

However, despite his objections to the death penalty, Mnangagwa is himself a feared man as he has been implicated in the massacre of 20 000 people in Matebeleland and Midlands provinces during the Gukurahundi killings in the 1980s.

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