Mnangagwa wants death penalty abolished

via Mnangagwa wants death penalty abolished | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu 10 October 2013

Justice Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa has thrown his weight behind the anti-death penalty campaign and pledged to push for the abolition of the capital punishment.

Mnangagwa, who is a death penalty survivor, was addressing activists after a march organized by Amnesty International Zimbabwe to mark the World’s Death Penalty Day in Harare.

Activists who were present quoted Mnangagwa saying he would ‘speak against the death penalty’ no matter ‘where I am’.

This development will have come as a surprise to many as the new constitution, which was adopted in March 2013, upholds the death penalty. Moreover Mnangagwa himself oversaw the implementation of capital punishment as Justice Minister between 1988 and 2000.

Amnesty International Zimbabwe confirmed the development to SW Radio Africa on Thursday and welcomed Mnanagagwa’s stance. According to Cousin Zilala, the Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa said the death penalty ‘should have been abolished long ago’.

Zilala said Mnangagwa told the marchers that during the outreach program when Zimbabwe was writing a new constitution ‘a slight majority was in favour of the death penalty and his personal view may not have overridden the view of the majority of the people.’

Zilala said his organization welcomed Mnangagwa’s stance and would seek to maximize on it to achieve its goal of having the death penalty abolished. Zilala said he did not take Mnanagagwa’s stance as part of what observers have identified as the ZANU PF government’s un-announced ploy to be conciliatory on many issues, as a way of gaining public support.

Zilala said Mnangagwa was being consistent, because of his personal history as he was himself saved from the hangman’s noose in 1965 after he was found guilty of helping others to blow up a train near Masvingo.  As he was under 21 at the time Mnangagwa was not executed but sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Capital punishment has always been a divisive issue in Zimbabwe’s criminal justice system and was typically a bone of contention during the erstwhile Government of National Unity, with ZANU PF in favour of it against the MDCs, who pushed for its abolition.

These differences came to a head in February 2013 when the government announced that it had found a new hangman to fill the post which had been vacant since 2005. The MDCs, alongside Amnesty international, condemned the move at the time.

The new constitution outlaws the death penalty for all women, as well as men who were under 21 at the time of the crime and those over 70.



  • comment-avatar
    Mike Nyathi 11 years ago

    It is disgraceful that Amnesty is happy to adopt Mnangagwa as a poster boy for this campaign when he was a major architect of Gukurahundi – not to mention the fact that many were hung in the 1980s when he was Minister for State Security and he didn’t lift a finger for them. In fact, CIO was instrumental in many of the convictions. Wake up Amnesty.

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    Anold Anderson 11 years ago

    I am surprised by people who live in the past and who don’t have the sense of the present. These are the same people who slows progress because their minds are dug in into the past well done Armnesty International Zimbabwe and well done justice minister Munangarwa.

  • comment-avatar
    Chitova weGona 11 years ago

    He sentenced the whole region to death without trial now he wants us to believe he is genuine? We can only remove it after he has been sentenced for what he did.

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    Tozvireva Kupiko 11 years ago

    Fear of what what could be waiting for him? Maybe images of Saddam Hussein being sent to the gallows is flooding some people’s minds…. time is ticking by and one day there will be justice in Zim!

  • comment-avatar
    Harper 11 years ago

    Turkeys would vote against Christmas!