Mugabe petitioned over death penalty abolishment

HARARE - As Zimbabwe on Monday joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Day Against the Death Penalty, Veritas has petitioned President Robert Mugabe calling for the abolishment of the death penalty.

The organisation, which provides information on the work of Parliament and the country’s laws, wrote the letter last week.

“We…respectfully request you, as Head of State and government and the authority in whom the Constitution of Zimbabwe vests the power of mercy, to direct your government to take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty in Zimbabwe,” the letter reads.

Calls for the abolition of the death penalty have been made from different sections of the society. Currently, the matter is before the Constitutional Court, where condemned prisoners are challenging capital punishment.

In Zimbabwe, women are not subject to capital punishment, while men under the age of 21 and above the age of 70 cannot be sentenced to death.

While several nations around the world have abolished the death penalty, Zimbabwe is one of the few countries retaining capital punishment.

“The majority of African Union member States have legally abolished the death penalty or applied a de facto moratorium on capital punishment, only a minority of 17 States has retained the death penalty.

“Only three Sadc States continue to carry out the death penalty, Botswana, the DRC and Lesotho.  The other Sadc States have either abolished it in law or do not carry it out in practice.  Despite the fact that there has been no execution in the country since 2005, people continue to be sentenced to death.”

The organisation further said  the death penalty is not a “traditional penalty but a colonial relic”.

According to Veritas traditional customary law relied on restorative justice as opposed to retribution.

“The death penalty is not an effective deterrent against serious crimes, this has been shown by research in many parts of the world.  Without deterrence it becomes merely cruel and inhumane,” Veritas said.

Alongside the letter, the organisation is also running an online petition against the death penalty.

Comments (1)

Death penalty MUST STAY. Until one of their close ones is killed in cold blood then they can think straight.

Chido - 12 October 2016

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