Wednesday, February 28, 2024
HomenewsZimbabwe moves to officially spare 62 lives, as it abolishes the hanging...

Zimbabwe moves to officially spare 62 lives, as it abolishes the hanging of men


Zimbabwean government records show that there are more than 60 prisoners on death row.


Zimbabwean government records show that there are more than 60 prisoners on death row.

Charles O’Rear/Getty Images

  • Zimbabwe last executed a prisoner in 2005.
  • The country is now due to commute the sentences of 62 inmates on death row.
  • The death sentence is still used in 30 African countries.

Sixty-two death row inmates in Zimbabwe could have their sentences commuted to life in prison when the government abolishes the death penalty in 2024.

This was revealed after the first cabinet meeting of the year chaired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, on Tuesday.

The abolition is due to come into effect through the Private Member’s Death Penalty Abolition Bill.

According to the Ministry of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting, “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”.

At present, Section 48 of the Zimbabwe Constitution states that the death penalty may be imposed only for murder committed under aggravating circumstances, and may only be pronounced on men aged between 21 to 70.

READ | EU extends arms embargo on Zimbabwe into a 13th year, citing ‘internal repression’

Government records show that there are still 62 inmates on death row.

The last inmates to be hanged in 2005 were notorious criminals, Stephen Chidhumo and Edgar Masendeke, the duo that launched the only successful prison break at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in 1995.

Zimbabwe at present does not even have a hangman, despite interest in the job by applicants in 2022, two of whom were women.

As of last year, the death sentence was still used in 30 countries on the continent. 

But no executions had taken place in the previous decade in 16 of these states or territories. In 14 countries, the death penalty was regularly used. 

These included Nigeria, Botswana, Somalia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt, and Libya.

Capital punishment has now been abolished in 26 African countries.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.



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