Mnangagwa wants two women to remain on death-row

Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa

By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
11 February 2014

Two women, whom Emmerson Mnangagwa wants to remain on death-row, will ‘soon’ be replying to the justice minister’s opposition to their court application seeking a change to their sentences.

Rosemary Khumalo and Shylet Sibanda are seeking a Constitutional Court order to have their sentences set aside and substituted with appropriate sentences, in line with the new constitution.

Zimbabwe’s new Constitution prohibits the imposition of the death penalty on all women, as well as on men under 21 at the time of the crime. Also spared are those over 70.

Sibanda and Khumalo were sentenced to death in two separate cases and both of them are awaiting execution at the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

But it emerged last week that Mnangagwa opposed a court application by the two death row inmates. Chiedza Simbo from the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, the representatives of the two women, told SW Radio Africa that they will be replying to Mnangagwa’s opposition ‘as soon as possible’.

Simbo said Mnangagwa is arguing that the two should seek presidential pardon while the government works on aligning other laws with the new Constitution. Simbo said her clients will argue that in terms of the Constitution, presidential pardon applies only to men and not to women.

Although the new constitution was adopted almost a year ago, the laws have yet to be aligned with it, which has led some observers to question whether the government is serious about bringing in the new constitution. This lack of alignment of laws is also routinely creating problems such as in the case of the two women.

Mnangagwa’s latest move will also come as a surprise to many. Only last year he threw his weight behind the abolition of the death penalty. He told activists at the Anti-Death penalty march that he would speak against the death penalty ‘no matter where I am’.

2 Responsesto “Mnangagwa wants two women to remain on death-row”

  1. oenhugo says:

    The women put themselves on death row by committing murder.

  2. Yepec says:

    As quoted on this Article, Mnangagwa “told activists at the Anti-Death penalty march that he would speak against the death penalty (no matter where I am)”. This year, eight moths after the disputed, harmonised elections and since becoming the Justice Minster, Mnangagwa, is recommending the Death Penalty for the two women be implemented. Does that not sound like a contradiction of what the Co, nstitution of the country says?

    Worse still, Mnangagwa as the Justice Minister, has not yet aligned the laws of the country to the Constitution. Under the Lancaster House Constitution, the laws were aligned to it which basically means that the present Zanu PF Government regards the Lancaster House Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land.

    But Mnangagwa, as the Minister of Justice, is recommending the implementation of the Death Penalty on these two women when the Constitution of the country says otherwise? So under which Section of the Constitution is Mnangagwa interpreting the law as the Justice Minister of Zimbabwe? Is that why the Glen View activists (free people), were locked up for three years in a maximum prison for a crime they did not commit?

    How is this situation different from a country under a Junta or Coup? In a Coup, the citizens of the country are ruled according to the coup leader’s wishes and in current Zimbabwe, it is according to the wishes of the leader of Zanu PF. Is that why the saying must be seriously taken, especially, by the praise singer positively speaking on behalf of that Party on the forum?

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