Zimbabwe Cabinet Has Opted The Abolition Of Death Penalty

The death penalty will no longer be applied in Zimbabwe, according to the cabinet.

This comes after the Death Penalty Abolition Bill was published last year.

Zimbabwe wants to replace the death penalty with a maximum sentence of life in prison and permanently abolish it.

Information Minister Jenfan Muswere told the media during a post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday that the cabinet’s approval came after widespread grassroots consultations in 30 districts across the nation.

“Cabinet considered and approved the Memorandum on the Private Member’s Death Penalty Abolition Bill, which was presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi  Ziyambi as the Chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.

“Cabinet approved the abolition of the death penalty and agreed that the circumstances attracting death penalty options include where the murder is committed against a prison or police officer, or minor or pregnant woman, or it is committed in the course of other serious crimes or where there was pre-meditation.

“In view of the need to retain the deterrent element in sentencing murderers, it is expected that the new law will impose lengthy sentences without violating the right to life,” said the minister.

Zimbabwe has not carried out any executions since 2005.

According to Muswere a Private Member’s Bill was introduced in the National Assembly, and its main purpose was to abolish the death penalty in Zimbabwe through the amendment to the Criminal Law Code and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

The minister said following ongoing debates locally, regionally and internationally on whether or not the death penalty should be abolished, the Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs conducted countrywide consultations after which a report was produced.

He said from these consultations, critical comments and views were expressed for and against the death penalty.

The Constitution currently protects the right to life but states that a law may permit a court, in limited circumstances, to impose the death penalty on men convicted of aggravated murder.

If the Bill becomes law, Zimbabwe will join the majority of countries that have abolished the death penalty.

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