Citizens demand death penalty for corrupt officials


Last Monday, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs held a pivotal hearing in Bindura as part of a broader series of national consultations on the proposed Death Penalty Abolition Bill.

The hearing, which took place at Tendai Community Hall in the Chipadze area, drew a significant crowd, many of whom expressed a particularly severe stance on the application of the death penalty.

Unexpectedly, voices at the hearing demanded that the death penalty be specifically applied to high-ranking officials such as parliamentarians, heads of public office, and ministers found guilty of looting national resources. “The rationale provided by speaker after speaker was stark: abolishing the death penalty would embolden criminals, potentially leading to an increase in severe crimes, as perpetrators would no longer fear the ultimate punishment of death,” explained legal expert Tafadzwa Zimunya.

The hearing in Bindura was part of a week-long session spread across nine provinces, including Mashonaland Central, and other towns like Kadoma, Gweru, Bulawayo, Lupane, Filabusi, Harare, Marondera, Mutare, and Masvingo. These hearings are designed to solicit stakeholder input on three bills currently under consideration, with a particular focus on the Death Penalty Abolition Bill, which was gazetted last year.

Introduced by Dzivarasekwa legislator Edwin Mushoriwa as a private member’s bill, the Death Penalty Abolition Bill aims to amend the Criminal Law Code and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. Following the Cabinet’s approval of the bill’s principles in February, the legislative path for its passage appears clear, signaling a shift towards ending capital punishment in the country.

“Legal experts and political analysts are closely watching these developments,” said political analyst Chipo Dendere. “The intense responses from the Bindura hearing reflect deep societal concerns about accountability and justice, especially concerning corruption at high levels. The push to extend the death penalty rather than abolish it highlights the public’s desire for stringent measures against corruption.”

As these hearings continue, they provide critical insights into public sentiment and potential obstacles for the bill’s advocates in Parliament. The strong opinions expressed in Bindura illustrate the complexities and emotional depth of the debate surrounding the death penalty and broader issues of justice and governance in the nation.

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