PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has once again stoked debate on capital punishment after concurring with a European Union position on the emotive matter. The EU said capital punishment had not established any deterrent effect on murderers.
“The death penalty is an affront to human dignity. It constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and is contrary to the right to life. The death penalty has no established deterrent effect and it makes judicial errors irreversible,” the European bloc said on its official Twitter account.
Mnangagwa re-tweeted it, adding: “I agree whole-heartedly.”
Contacted for clarity, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential communications), George Charamba said Mnangagwa still needed to convince other stakeholders before there were changes to the law in order to reflect his desire.
“It cannot happen from the President’s office but from a legislative perspective. That is the President’s own view point, but it still has to find favour in terms of our laws and policies. He has expressed his personal wish, desire, and a personal conviction, but he has to build consensus around his personal view before it translates initially to policy then, secondly, law,” Charamba said yesterday.
Mnangagwa’s view on capital punishment was a matter of public record. The President escaped the hangman’s noose during the liberation struggle after it was discovered that he was under age.
Mnangagwa, who has served as Justice minister under former President Robert Mugabe, is a well-known advocate for the removal of the death penalty. Mugabe once revealed that he had an altercation with Mnangagwa over capital punishment.
Mnangagwa also differed with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who openly declared his support for capital punishment. Zimbabwe has not implemented the death penalty for over 10 years now, with Mnangagwa credited for that.