JUSTICE and Legal Affairs deputy minister Obert Gutu has dismissed media reports that government has filled the hangman’s post, which had been vacant for the past 12 years.
Report by Blondie Ndebele
Gutu told NewsDay yesterday that as far as he was concerned, the post had not yet been taken up.
“Maybe it was kept a secret from the ministry, but to the best of my knowledge there is no hangman in Zimbabwe,” Gutu said.
“I have heard and read in the media that a hangman has been found, but from what I know on the ground, Zimbabwe is still looking for a hangman. I tried to carry out my own investigations as the deputy minister, but nobody could verify that a hangman had been found. If it was said by the prisons commissioner, who am I to dispute? He knows better,” Gutu said.
Two months ago, Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Prison Service Retired Major-General Paradzayi Zimondi told State media the government had finally found a hangman.
About 76 murder convicts, among them two women, have been on death row since the retirement of the previous hangman in 2005.
Zimbabwe’s new Constitution, endorsed in a referendum last month and now awaiting Parliament and Presidential assent, exempts women, men under 21 years of age at the time of commission of the crime and those over 70 from the death penalty.
It also exempts the imposition of the death penalty under special circumstances.