'Zimbabweans against death penalty'

HARARE - Zimbabweans are against the death penalty and would want it abolished, a research done by the Mass Public Opinion Institute in partnership with Mai Sato of the University of Reading has revealed.

It said 61 percent of Zimbabweans are against the death penalty, while 41 percent thought it should “definitely” be kept and 20 percent feel it should “probably” be kept.

However, when confronted with case scenarios, a majority of Zimbabweans opposed the death penalty in five out of six cases.

“Support for the death penalty is not entrenched, 92 percent of Zimbabweans considered policies other than ‘more executions’ to be most effective at reducing violent crime. Eighty percent of those Zimbabweans who expressed support for the death penalty would be willing to accept abolition if it were to become government policy,” reads part of the survey.

The research was commissioned by The Death Penalty Project, in partnership with Veritas.

It observed that public knowledge about the death penalty was limited with 83 percent of Zimbabweans unaware that the country has not carried out any executions in the past decade.

Forty-five percent did not know that the method of execution in Zimbabwe is hanging.

The research said there has been a significant shift away from capital punishment in recent years, globally, with an ever decreasing minority of countries continuing to retain the death penalty.

More than two thirds of the world has now abolished the death penalty in law or in practice.

“The trend towards abolition has been especially pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa, where Guinea, Benin, Madagascar, and the Republic of the Congo have abolished the death penalty for all crimes in the last three years alone. A total of 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have now abolished capital punishment entirely,” the report said.

“Despite the fact that Zimbabwe has not carried out an execution in over a decade, its retention of the death penalty in law continues to mark it as an outlier in the international context.”

The research added that Zimbabwe has not executed anyone in over 12 years.

“Even though Zimbabwe has not executed anyone in a long time, the death penalty remains lawful punishment: prisoners are being sentenced to death, and executions could resume at any time. Amnesty International reports that 11 people were sentenced to death in 2017,” it said in part.

”At the end of the year there were 99 people under sentence of death in Zimbabwe, although at least 16 prisoners who had been on death row for more than a decade have since had their death sentences commuted by President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa.

“The severe mental stress caused by long periods spent awaiting execution on death row has been recognised as a cruel and inhuman punishment under international law, as long as the death penalty remains in force those on death row will continue to suffer.”

There has been widespread condemnation of the death penalty among world rights groups, with former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon famously remarking that “the death penalty has no place in the 21st century”.

More than 160 member states of the UN, with a variety of legal systems, traditions, cultures and religious backgrounds, have either abolished the penalty or do not practice it.

Comments (3)

The death penalty is so yesteryear. There is absolutely no correlation between the death penalty and less crime. None. Yet people keep harping in it. There'd be crime in Saudi Arabia or Texas. Plus you can't undo it. How many times have people been exonerated with DNA? And what's up with an eye for an eye? Why do we have so much hate? I'd not want to see the killer of my kid for example executed. Does that give me closure? No.

Moe Syslack - 24 May 2018

In a poll ask: Should the death penalty be an option for: Those who rape and murder children; Mass murderers and serial murderers. Yes or no Death penalty support will be near 80%. Everyone knows that the methods and questions and answers of the polling direct the outcome

Dudley Sharp - 25 May 2018

Moe: The death penalty has nothing to do with hatred or closure. The death penalty i sought for the same reason all sanctions are - Justice. Innocents are much more protected with the death penalty. Executed murderers never harm again. Living murderers harm again, very often, in prison, after escape, after improper release and after not being incarcerated. All sanctions deter some. Never has that been negated, nor can it be.

Dudley Sharp - 25 May 2018

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