13 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Death Penalty Divides Upper House

The provision in the draft constitution allowing the death penalty has thrown Senators into a quandary on how they should deal with a motion moved in the Upper House condemning capital punishment.

This emerged yesterday during debate on a motion that implored the government to repeal capital punishment when Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira rose to tell them that it was ironic for them to denounce the death penalty when they had unanimously acceded to the draft constitution that condoned it.

Zaka Senator Misheck Marava (MDC-T) had moved a motion condemning the use of the death penalty saying the country should move along with international standards as 151 countries out of 193 United Nations member states had abolished the practice.

The motion received an overwhelming support from Senators across the political divide with legislators taking turns to condemn it saying it was unbiblical and against the country's cultural norms.

The Senators said the death penalty should be replaced by life imprisonment.

After several Senators had taken to the floor condemning death penalty, Chief Charumbira then rose to tell them that the draft constitution which they accepted provided for capital punishment.

"Senators ululated here saying the draft was okay. Chapter four of the draft says death penalty can be imposed in aggravated murder. This means that it is still there in our constitution," said Chief Charumbira.

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