International human rights body Amnesty International (AI) Zimbabwe has
challenged leaders of Zimbabwe’s 3 main political parties to outlaw the death
penalty in the new constitution, saying capital punishment violated the right
In an open letter to President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and Welshman Ncube, AI Zimbabwe executive director Cousin Zilala said the death
penalty should not be included in the new governance charter currently being
“Amnesty International is urging party leaders in the inclusive government to
provide leadership in shaping a new constitution that seeks to remove Zimbabwe
from the ever-diminishing number of countries left in the world that apply the
death penalty for all offences,” said Zilala.
“We challenge you as the leaders of Zanu PF and the 2 MDCs, whose parties are
charged with coming up with a new constitution, to do the honourable thing and
rest the spirits of Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi and others who were victims of
this inhuman and degrading form of punishment. This is no time for excuses.”
Zilala said the adoption of a new constitution provided Zimbabwe with an
opportunity to improve its human rights record, to mark itself out as a
progressive nation within the region and to align itself with the global trend
towards abolishing the death penalty.
“Removing the death penalty from the new constitution will be a decisive step
in removing one of the shackles left over from that period,” he said.
Zilala said the constitution-making Copac’s decision to restrict the death
penalty to aggravated murder was not enough as the restriction retained the
status quo for those currently on death row.