HARARE – Two women are reportedly among the applicants hoping to fill the vacant post of Zimbabwe’s “public executioner”, under the neighbouring country’s Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service.
The state-owned “Sunday Mail” newspaper reported that Zimbabwe has 66 inmates on death row but the country, led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has not carried out executions since the infamous Stephen Chidhumo and Edmund Edgar Masendeke were hanged in 2005.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe, quoted in the “Sunday Mail”, limits capital punishment to convicted murderers who would have killed others human beings under aggravating circumstances. The convicted murderers who may be hanged in Zimbabwe should be between the ages of 21 and 70.
Women are exempt from the hangman’s noose.
The publication added that Mnangagwa, who dodged an execution on a technicality during the colonial era, has been calling for the abolishment of the death penalty in Zimbabwe.
Speaking to the “Sunday Mail”, the country’s Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary, Virginia Mabiza, said only two women had expressed interest in taking up the infamous job.
“In the past, we have been overwhelmed with applications for the post of hangman, but because of the de facto moratorium that we have had for more than a decade, it has not been necessary to employ anyone.
“At the moment, it (the hangman’s post) is not an issue because the real discussion is centred on the abolition of the death penalty,” Mabiza told the widely read publication.
Capital punishment was abolished in South Africa on June 6, 1995, by a ruling of the Constitutional Court.
However, there are widespread calls from community members and civil rights groups for the death penalty to be considered again, amid rampant violent crime coupled with an astounding murder rate.