VICE-President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said corporal punishment should not be used in the country, adding his voice to the current debate.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Mnangagwa made the remarks at the International Human Rights Day commemorations in Chitungwiza, where he also revealed plans by the government to review the notorious Public Order and Security Act (Posa).
Early this year, High Court judge Justice Ester Muremba declared corporal punishment or canning of children unconstitutional as she declared section 353 (1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 907 invalid in terms of Section 167 (3) and Section 175 (1) of the new Constitution.
She said Section 53 outlaws the infliction of corporal punishment by either parents or guardians who were allowed to mete out moderate corporal punishment under the old Constitution.
However, the Constitutional Court seemed to have overturned the decision when it deferred indefinitely the proceedings for confirmation of the High Court judgment that outlawed corporal punishment.
In his address yesterday, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had no place for cruel and degrading treatment or punishment.
“The government is alive to the submissions on the ratification of the Convention Against Torture (CAT),” he said.
“However, it should not be forgotten that the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for an absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. The effect of this, inter alia, is the removal of corporal punishment as a sentence of punishment.”
Mnangagwa, who is also Justice minister, once again spoke against the death sentence. He said it was now a decade without a single execution of prisoners on the death row, something that he described as a milestone towards the protection of the right to life.
The VP said there were many reforms underway in many different sectors. He singled out the media sector saying the reforms were being guided by the findings and recommendations of the Independent Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI).
He said Posa was being reviewed with a view to aligning it with the Constitution and human rights standards.
Mnangagwa also spoke against corruption saying those found on the wrong side of the law would be effectively dealt with.