The Death Penalty, National Security and the Zimbabwe Constitution
The Zimbabwe government through the inclusive government is currently carrying out rigorous outreach programs in Zimbabwe and abroad over the contents of the new proposed Zimbabwe Constitution. The proposed draft constitution will be presented as referendum to the people of Zimbabwe who will choose to either accept it or reject it.
One of the fundamental issues that has raised sentiment amongst Zimbabweans at home and abroad has been the issue of the death penalty. The death penalty consists of legally putting a convicted felon to death for a prescribed offence. Under our current Zimbabwe Lancaster house constitution, two offences immediately come to mind that attract the death penalty. Notably unmitigated first degree murder and high treason. Those calling for the abolition of the death penalty in Zimbabwe have sighted reason ranging from the barbaric nature of the act of putting another human being to death and that the process of putting somebody to death maybe riddled with loopholes as in some instances the actual perpetrator of the crime goes free whilst an innocent person is put to death. Valid arguments one might say, but are they sufficient in the context of our situation as Zimbabweans.
The death penalty put into context has been used since time immemorial. In the holy bible, the death penalty was used for crimes ranging from murder, witchcraft and kidnapping. The United Sates of America, China and a myriad of African countries including Zimbabwe still use the death penalty. In the United States half of all death penalties are carried out in the state of Texas. The electric chair or lethal injection is used following long periods of incarceration of convicted felons, the infamous “death row”. In China the death sentence has been used more frequently recently for drug trafficking offences. In fact a few of our Zimbabwean nationals have been caught in this net.
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