Zimbabwe Parliament to begin public hearings on death penalty abolition


HARARE – Parliament is set to commence public hearings on the abolition of the death penalty next week. 

The hearings, led by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, follow a motion raised by Edwin Mushoriwa, Member of Parliament for Dzivaresekwa, in 2023.

Zimbabwe Parliament to begin public hearings on death penalty
Image: Commonwealth Lawyers Association

In February 2024, the Cabinet agreed to abolish the death penalty for murder offences. This move comes despite the fact that Zimbabwe's most recent execution was carried out in 2005, with 62 convicted prisoners currently awaiting their fate on death row.

The Zimbabwean Constitution upholds the death sentence but excludes women, men under 21, and men over 70 from execution. Globally, more than 85 nations have abolished the death penalty for all crimes since 1976, with Portugal leading the way. 

Opponents of capital punishment argue that life imprisonment is a more effective deterrent. 

However, supporters claim that the death penalty deters potentially violent offenders who are not sufficiently restrained by the threat of imprisonment alone.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who reportedly avoided execution on a technicality during the colonial era, is a strong opponent of the death penalty.

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