Members of Zimbabwe’s parliament made history last week by proposing legislation that could put an end to capital punishment in the African country. In a rare show of bipartisan support, lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties came together to call for abolishing the d3ath penalty.
The bill was introduced by Dzivarasekwa representative Edwin Mushoriwa, a member of the Citizens Coalition for Change party. He argued that capital punishment violates human dignity and is irreversible if a mistake is made. “Our traditional justice system was based on restoration, not revenge or retribution,” Mushoriwa said.
Other legislators echoed his sentiments. Allan Markham of Harare East said most nations have moved away from the d3ath penalty in the name of human rights and justice. “It is time for Zimbabwe to follow suit,” he stated. Even Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi backed the bill, declaring the d3ath penalty to be a cruel and degrading form of punishment.
Currently, 62 inmates sit on Zimbabwe’s d3ath row. But the country has not carried out an execution in over 17 years, effectively having a moratorium. The proposed bill seeks to formally abolish capital punishment by amending existing laws. It comes as a welcome development for human rights advocates, with legal groups like Veritas pushing to overturn death sentences and enact abolition.
If passed, the new law would signify a major step forward for Zimbabwe. By
coming together across party lines on this important human rights issue, lawmakers are showing moral leadership. Their goal of replacing the d3ath penalty with a system focused on restorative justice and rehabilitation reflects the country’s changing attitudes. Zimbabwe may soon close a dark chapter of its history by choosing to value all human life.