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Tendai Biti Fights for Abolition of Death Penalty

  • Blessing  Zulu

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti

Prominent Harare lawyer and politician, Tendai Biti, has joined the growing list of people calling for the total abolition of the death penalty in Zimbabwe.

The new constitution abolished the mandatory death sentences and limited penalty to cases of murder committed in “aggravating circumstances.”

Biti says death row inmates must be pardoned as he goes back to the trenches to fight for people’s rights.

The constitution bars death sentences for women and men aged under 21 or over 70 at the time of committing the crime.

Zimbabwe carried out its last execution on July 22, 2005, yet an estimated 95 to 120 prisoners remain on death row in the country.

Amnesty International called the 10-year hiatus in executions a “milestone for the protection of the right to life and the eventual abolition of the death penalty in Zimbabwe.”

Amnesty International director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, says the death penalty is a violation of the right to life and Zimbabwean authorities must take urgent steps to get rid of the hangman’s noose and abolish the death penalty altogether.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also the minister responsible for justice, has also vowed to take the lead in lobbying for the abolishment of the death penalty in the country.