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Death penalty divides Epworth community

Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi

EPWORTH residents last week expressed mixed views on the death penalty, with some suggesting that it should be upheld, while others felt that it is a colonial law that should be done away with.

Those in favour of retaining the law said the death penalty should be imposed on drug peddlers and murderers.

This came out during a public hearing held at Epworth Community Hall by the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry.

The ministry is currently gathering views from the public across the country over whether the death penalty should be abolished or upheld.

Zimbabwe’s Constitution does not impose the death penalty on women and men under the age of 21, as well as men above 69 years of age.

“It is time for the Constitution to be amended as we have witnessed a lot of murder cases.  Drug peddlers are forcing young people to abuse drugs and many are perishing. These drug lords must face the death penalty. The issue of corruption is also crippling development of this country and corrupt people must face the noose,” Epworth resident Jeffrey Mafuta said.

Another resident, who only identified herself as Faith, said the courts should also impose death sentences on people who commit infanticide.

Residents opposed to the death penalty said it should be abolished as more killings do not right wrongs, while punishing offenders through death was against Christian beliefs.

Tanaka Mutangandebvu (20), director for Youth Advocacy Champions, said: “This death penalty should be entirely abolished. It was introduced by white settlers who intended to kill our forefathers, Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi. It is not right to continue practising what was introduced by our colonisers.”

Most Epworth residents were in support of the fact that death penalty should not apply to people under 18 years of age.

Charles Manhiri, a chief law officer in the Justice ministry, said the country has not had any executions since 2005.

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