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Death penalty should be abolished in Zimbabwe

18 Jan 2019 at 16:07hrs | Views
Laws and statutes play a pivotal role in the way disputes among people are settled. It is therefore incumbent upon every country to lay down its own justice delivery system to fulfil the mandate of upholding positive practices among its citizens. This is done through the process of prosecuting those that are found on the wrong side of the law. In Zimbabwe, such people may have to pay fines, perform community service, be incarcerated or given the capital punishment if found guilty of heinous crimes. However, the voice that cries out for the abolishment of capital punishment has been growing louder throughout the world. Below are some illustrations that are meant to make us rethink the imposition of the death penalty.

The first instance is, say a person for one reason or another, is accused of a horrendous crime. The convicted individual then goes through rigorous trial at various levels of the judiciary system. However, despite the alleged criminal's vehement persistence of innocence, the prosecutors reach a verdict of guilt for that particular offence. The purported criminal is subsequently sentenced to death. The "criminal" is sent to the gallows for execution. Burial of such an individual would seem like closure to the whole sordid affair. However as fate would have it, some evidence, twists and angles that had not been examined before come to light, signaling  existence of anomalies in the whole trial. This might seem outlandish but such things have happened before if the adage "To err is human…" is anything to go by. Errors of this magnitude and the gravity of the irreversibility of the death sentence are well documented in a paper entitled, 8 People Who Were Executed And Later Found Innocent (Eric, May 2010). Such scenarios definitely result in the efficiency of the legal as well as judiciary system being questioned. The whole system that runs the country would be put into disrepute for it would have turned against its own. Moreover, the prospect of having killed (for it is at this point that an execution turns out to be a murder) an innocent person is disconcerting, to say the least.

Most Zimbabweans, due to their orientation in the religion of Christianity would easily relate to the historical case of a justice system that passed a verdict that is still talked about over two thousand years down the line; the Crucifixion. On realizing the gravity of what was about to happen, Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor who had been presiding over the case is said to have literary washed his hands of the whole affair. However, this did not stop those who were bent on achieving their goal.

Another case of adverse achievement of goals can be illustrated in the case of individuals who violate the law so much so that they are certain it will earn them death sentences once caught. These sadistic individuals amongst us would be displaying suicidal tendencies. They contravene the law and look forward to the punishment. The phenomenon is similar to what is regarded as "suicide by police". This term is used when "a suicidal individual deliberately behaves in a threatening manner with intent to provoke lethal response from…law enforcement officer" (Wikipedia, 2018) In this case, the individual provokes the whole justice system by infringing onto fellow citizens' legal rights. For such a criminals, incarceration pending execution would be like waiting for the train to take them home and oftentimes this does not come soon enough. In such circumstances, passing the death sentence would have the judiciary system of the land playing into the criminals' hands. This scenario can be likened to giving a frog that harbours wishes of being yonder a kick that lands it on the other side. The condemned criminal would have the last laugh since he/she would have achieved the ultimate goal.

Since the goal of the maintenance of law and order would still be of paramount importance despite the abolition of the death penalty, an alternative course has to be taken otherwise the whole issue would still hang. The only other route to take would be the issuance of life sentences. This would be the maximum that anyone could ever be sentenced to. However this solution, like any other has its cons, chief among them the matter of provision of livelihood to people who are seemingly least deserving. The taxpayer would bear the brunt of extra burdens while the other party has a whole life ahead to grapple with the tenacity of the conscience.

Mrs Joyce Chigiya is a member of RAIMSOSA Writers Club. You can also be a member by writing to whatsapp +264817871070

Source - Joyce Chigiya
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