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63 Inmates Spared from Death Penalty

63 Inmates Spared from Death Penalty

Approximately 63 inmates, convicted of crimes ranging from murder and beyond, are set to have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. This decision follows the introduction of a proposed law to Parliament by Edwin Mushoriwa, a Member of Parliament for Dzivarasekwa under the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), through a Private Members Bill.

The Government has officially gazetted the bill after it successfully passed through both the lower and upper houses of Parliament. Notably, Zimbabwe’s last execution took place in 2005, and since then, 61 inmates have awaited their fate on death row until recently when two murderers, sentenced by Judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi for the killing of Tapiwa Makore, faced the death penalty.

However, Mushoriwa contends that the death penalty should be entirely abolished due to the risk that future Parliamentarians might reinstate the law, given the constitutional provision for such actions.

“I am worried that other MPs who might come in the future could re-eanct the law because our constitution has that loophole. So, I hope the death penalty is going to be totally abolished,” said Mushoriwa.

The decision was praised by Amnesty International Zimbabwe as a significant stride toward abolishing a punishment deemed inhumane. Amnesty International has consistently opposed the death penalty, asserting that it infringes upon the fundamental right to life outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Advocate Tererai Rector Mafukidze, a South African-based lawyer and member of the Johannesburg Bar, echoed Amnesty International Zimbabwe’s stance on the death penalty. He emphasized to journalists that the abolition of the death penalty is long overdue, characterizing the existing law as outdated.

“The death penalty serves no purpose. It has been used as a polictical tool to victimise black opponents particularly during the colonial era and post independence,” said avocate Mafukidze.
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