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Mugabe opposes Mnangagwa on death penalty, calls for it to be restored

Addressing mourners at the burial of national hero Don Muvuti, President Robert Mugabe called for the restoration of the death penalty. Although capital punishment is still part of Zimbabwe’s law, no one has been executed since 2005, when the country’s last hangman retired.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been working for the death penalty to be abolished. Said Mugabe:

Ini ndinoti death penalty ngaidzoke, VaMnangagwa vanoti ngatinzwei tsitsi, VaMphoko handisati ndanzwa pfungwa dzavo panyaya iyi. Asi shuwa kuurayana, handizvo zvatakaendera kuhondo, saka mukaona mutemo wadzoka zivai kuti robot rambenge riri regreen razoita red. ( I say let the death penalty be restored. Mnangagwa says let us be lenient, I do not know what Mphoko thinks on this issue. But we did not go to the liberation struggle for people to murder each other. So if you see the death penalty being restored just know the robot had been green now its red.)

This is not the first time Mugabe has openly supported the death penalty. In August while delivering a speech to mark Heroes Day commemorations at the National Heroes Acre, he called on the public to take up the hangman’s post. Said Mugabe at the time:

We are still debating whether to remove capital punishment. My Cabinet is divided about that and Mnangagwa wants it to be removed, but we are still considering. We now have many people on the death row. We are failing to get a hangman. If there is anyone brave, they should apply and we will appoint.

Last month Justice ministry secretary Virginia Mabhiza told NewsDay that they received more than 50 applications from people wanting to become hangmen. She said her office would soon go through the applications, but would not give a timeline as to when the appointment will be made. Said Mabhiza:

The response has been overwhelming and the applications have been from both men and women interested in taking up the position of hangman. We have received over 50 applications in the past few months. People are very interested.

The 2013 constitution exempts all women from the death penalty, as well as males under 18 and over 69 years old. 

 

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