Zimbabweans have expressed their different sentiments towards the death penalty, which is only sentenced to those who would have committed heinous crimes, including premeditated murder in the course of a robbery.
They have several names, which include ‘Prisoners Under Sentence of Death’ and ‘The Condemned’, but many believe they are human and they have their wishes, having tasted the vagaries of life behind bars, not knowing when the hangman’s noose will visit their necks.
The ZBC News was given a rare opportunity to enter death row premises at Harare Central Remand Prison and spoke to some of the 76 serving inmates on their views on the abolishment of the death penalty as well as their experiences
The issue of the abolishment of the death row is a contentious one, with some strongly opposed to it while others, including the first citizen, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was once a death row inmate himself, are clearly for the abolishment of the death penalty.
Some inmates who refused to disclose their identity highlighted their full support for the death row saying there are undeserving elements in society who must not spend any more days consuming tax payers’ money due to their gruesome acts of violence against other humans.
However, according to Ambuya Gertrude Munotsva and Renia Chisaira from Mbare, nobody has the right to terminate another’s life and an eye for an eye makes the world go blind.
Emmanuel Mapfumo (33), Lucky Dhliwayo (39) and Kiriboni Jirimadenga, all condemned to death for despicable crimes, expressed penance as they have all spent different days in prison lurking around the corridors of the death row premises, not knowing if that day would be the last, yet clinging on to the hope that the hangman’s noose will never determine their last fate.
It’s evident that the abolishment of the death penalty is what these inmates truly yearn for, but beyond that, they still aspire to taste sweet freedom inspite of their transgressions and once be united with their families.