Ministry of Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs has been criticized for holding public consultations on the death penalty as the country gears up for general elections in a few months.
Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold elections between July and August this year.
Historically, the election period is associated with violence and intimidation leading to loss of life and voter apathy.
However, a few months before elections the ministry of Justice is holding public consultations across the country.
Masvingo resident questions timing of the consultations
During a public consultation held in Masvingo last Tuesday a local resident queried why the consultations were being carried out at such a time.
“This research is being done during an election year.
“Is it not a strategy for making people fearful of what might occur tomorrow?
“Is it the right moment to carry out this procedure?
“Can’t you keep using the same approach for another year?
“Stop the consultations until after the elections.
“Stop the consultations right away if it is not an intimidation strategy, he said.
However, the ministry officials in response told the gathering that the inquiry had nothing to do with elections further adding that the elections are not supposed to stop the law-making process.
Public discussions on the death penalty are being held all over the nation by the ministry of Justice.
The consultations’ goal is to assemble the opinions of the people and different stakeholders.
The opinions gathered will have an impact on how the proposed death penalty legislation is written.
In Zimbabwe, the last execution took place in 2005, and since then, death penalties have been changed to life in prison.
The consultation period began on March 27 and will run through to until April 7, 2023.
The death penalty is in violation of the 2013 constitution and other international conventions which provides for the right to life.
Human rights organizations have been advocating for the abolishment of the death penalty for some time now, but progress is yet to be realized.
Currently 62 people are on the death row in Zimbabwe.