HARARE: Zimbabwean Cabinet on Tuesday approved the abolition of the death penalty and, in its place, endorsed the imposition of lengthy to life jail sentences, New Ziana reported quoted Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Service, Dr Jenfan Muswere.
During a post-cabinet press briefing, he stated that Tuesday’s cabinet decision was the culmination of a long and robust debate on the issue in many fora, including parliament, public spaces, and internationally.
It was in response to the Memorandum on the Private Member’s Death Penalty Abolition Bill, which the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi presented to cabinet.
“A Private Member’s Bill was introduced in the National Assembly, and its main purpose was to abolish the death penalty in Zimbabwe through amendments to the Criminal Law Code and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act,“ Dr Muswere 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 grassroots consultations in 30 districts of Zimbabwe, three districts per each of the ten provinces, after which a report was produced,“ he said.
He said from the consultations, critical comments and views were expressed for and against the death penalty, which cabinet considered in its approval of the abolition.
Cabinet noted, however, that there was a need to maintain deterrence against murder and approved the imposition of long to life jail sentences for the crime.
“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. The existence of aggravating circumstances may attract life sentences,“ Dr Muswere said. – Bernama, New Ziana