The issue of ‘capital punishment’ might once again come under the spotlight with the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs hinting that if the country is to amend the Constitution, then the abolishing of the death sentence might be discussed.
Zimbabwe’s Constitution allows the death penalty but the country has not executed anyone for the past 14 years despite there being convicted murderers on the death row.
Since the year 2005, the country has not carried out any executions despite the courts of law sentencing convicted murderers to the gallows.
The Constitution that came into effect in the year 2013 allows for capital punishment but the actions appear to suggest Zimbabwe is moving with times and might do away with the death penalty.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi confirmed that abolishing capital punishment will in the future be discussed if the Constitution is to be amended.
Harare lawyer Mr James Makiya said the right to life must be absolute if the Constitution is to respect the sanctity of human life.
It is the duty of legislators to amend the Constitution and follow other progressive nations in removing the death sentence, said Mr Makiya.
South Africa, a country with a very high rate of murder, the death sentence was abolished on the 6th of June 1995 after the famous state versus Makwanyane constitutional application.
In Zimbabwe, some, however, believe the death sentence can deter would be offenders.
Despite the assertions that the death penalty deters would be murderers, research shows otherwise.
There are no scientific facts that prove that imposing the death penalty reduces the cases of murder in any country.
Another worrying fact is that Amnesty International has recorded 55 cases in five countries namely China, Maldives, Nigeria, USA and Zambia whereby prisoners who had been sentenced to death were later exonerated.
At least 21 919 people were known to be on death row worldwide at the end of 2017.
In Zimbabwe, the Constitution does not allow for the execution of people under the age of 21, those above the age of 70 and women.