Amnesty International Zimbabwe chapter released a statement at the weekend marking the International Day against death penalty on 10 October and believes that ” the constitutional reform process provided for under Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement is an opportunity for the Government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate its commitment to human rights including abolition of the death penalty”
It further says death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment that constitutes violation of right of life.
”Amnesty International believes the constitution reform process provides an opportune moment for Zimbabwe’s political leadership to support abolition of the death penalty. Abolition of the death penalty in Zimbabwe will bring the country into league with progressive trend in Africa, where more countries are abolishing this inhuman and degrading punishment in defence of human rights” the human right watch- dog says.
President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Movement for Democratic Change and Professor Arthur Mutmabara of smaller MDC faction formed a coalition government in 2008 to end eight year political, social and economical decay.
The country is currently gathering information to write a constitution that will formulate democratic, free and fair elections possibly next year as previous elections were marred by violence and irregularities
Amnesty International Zimbabwe urges Zimbabwe government and political parties to ”play a leading role to persuade the Zimbabwean people to abolish the death penalty in law and recognize death penalty as inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life by taking this unique opportunity to remove it from the Constitution in defence of human rights”
Of 53 states in African Union, 49 did not carry out any executions during 2008 and 2009.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has repeatedly called on AU member states to abolish the death penalty. The United Nations General Assembly has also adopted resolutions calling for a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
In Zimbabwe, statistics show that no execution has taken place since 2005, although death sentence continue to be imposed.
According to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Reform, 52 prisoners, one of them a woman, were awaiting execution in 2009, Amnesty International further says.