18 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Dozens Apply For Hangman Post

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(File photo).

Cape Town — More than 50 job-seekers have applied for the hangman's post in Zimbabwe, Newsday reports.

The post has been vacant since 2005, amid reports that former justice minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa was hesitant to have it filled because of his opposition to the death penalty. Mnangagwa, who missed the hangman's noose by a whisker at the height of the liberation struggle, is on record describing capital punishment as inhuman and wants it abolished.

Amnesty International has pleaded with Zimbabwe to abolish the death penalty, which only applies to men who were aged between 21 and 70 when they committed their crimes.

In March, fourteen inmates who complained of overstaying on death row, lost their bid to nullify the death sentences imposed on them after the Constitutional Court threw out their application. The inmates, who have spent between four and 18 years awaiting their execution, approached the court challenging their pending execution. They argued that the length of their stay on the death row was an insult to their human dignity in breach of the Constitution.

The death penalty which exempts women murderers from execution while only allowing for certain male criminals has remained a controversial issue in Zimbabwe with more than 90 people currently on death row, although Zimbabwe hasn't executed any prisoners in the past 12 years.

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