Prison officer joins fight against death-sentence

via Prison officer joins fight against death-sentence | The Zimbabwean 18 June 2014 by Brenna Matendere

Local sculptor Innocent Magwere, who is also a staffer at Hwahwa medium security prison, has produced a wood sculpture protesting against the death sentence. Entitled “No Trinity” the piece depicts a man with a noose around his neck and a sword on his left side, chronicling the way hang-men take the lives of capital convicts.

Legal experts Veritas last year said the current laws providing for the death penalty were unconstitutional and should be amended as soon as possible.

Section 48 of the constitution stipulates that everyone has a right to life, but adds that “a law may permit the death penalty to be imposed . . .”

Though the section also restricts the circumstances under which the death penalty may be imposed like on men or boys younger than 21, or men older than 70 and women of any age, activists insist that the death penalty should be struck off completely. Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who once faced the death sentence before independence, has concurred that the penalty must be abolished.

Speaking on the sidelines of an exhibition he held at the GweruAmerican Corner, a centre for exchange of ideas and academic studies and research, Magwere said the death penalty had no place in modern Christian societies.

“We as a Christian nation are not supposed to kill a perpetrator of any crime. No matter what offence an individual commits, no one should pass a death sentence on another. Such judgments are only for God,” he said.

The artists reiterated it does not make sense “to fight murder crimes with murder”. “It is better to effect a lengthy prison sentence on a criminal. There are always risks of executing innocent people, arbitrary application of the sentence and as everyone has seen, the death penalty is not deterring crime effectively. So let it go in order to uphold human rights and dignity,” he said.

He added that his experience as a prison official had shown him that if correctional measures are adopted, offenders can reform and become responsible and useful citizens again.


  • comment-avatar
    zanupf fear me 9 years ago

    We will resurrect it to punish the criminal zanoids soon

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      Don Cox 9 years ago

      I hope the death penalty will be abolished in Zimbabwe, even for mass murderers.

      Revenge only begets revenge.

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    Thank you Magwere.

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    Pamire 9 years ago

    I don’t understand when people say Zimbabwe is a Christian country. In what ways? Does this mean the Government and politicians are guided by Christian principals when they govern?!! Kungobvunzawo.

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    nyoni 9 years ago

    Thankyou Innocent(no pun intended) but since you are advocating there be no death sentence in our country can we all have a say to. The sentence should be upheld for those that murdered thousands of our citizens for no reason whatsoever. This case of life imprisonment appears to be a call to pardon certain members of Zanu when the time comes for their reckoning.

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    law enforcer 9 years ago

    good that we have a death penalty. just look the lawless country like South Africa. people are murdered as pigs and those murders are given paroles. in fact they are set free. is that what you want? No, not here is Zimbabwe. the bible say do to others as you like them to do to you. You murder, you must get a death sentence, because that person who has been murdered no longer enjoys himself or herself. so it tit for tat.

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    Dhonodzo 9 years ago

    The death penalty is inhuman and unconstitutional an honestly speaking being detained for life (21years) is much more painful than death especially since no one can reveal the truth on what awaits after death

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    Uri right kana ukaurara unofanirawo kufa asi bedzi zvinotariswa nzira ye incident yacho bedzi sokuti wabaya munhu nebanga apowo unoendawo