Mugabe wants hanging of criminals restored

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(dpa/NAN) President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe says he wants the country to start hanging criminals again, 12 years after it stopped it.

The Zimbabwean leader said on Wednesday in Harare that “in spite of having a system of capital punishment, with more than 90 inmates currently on death row, no executions have been carried out since 2005.

“And the country does not even have a working hangman.

“I have always supported death penalty but Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa says it’s a bad thing.

“If you see the resumption of executions, you should know that my idea has prevailed.”

The 93-year-old president’s remarks were a thinly veiled dig at Mnangagwa, seen as possible successor to the longtime leader, though Mugabe was said to favour his wife, Grace, for the position.

Mnangagwa, who until recently doubled as Minister of Justice, had been campaigning for the abolishment of death penalty.

He was once on death row under the Rhodesian regime for fighting in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

While not the most obviously desirable profession, due to Zimbabwe’s staggering unemployment level of over 80 per cent, more than 50 people applied for the post of hangman when it was advertised last month, local media reported.

Amnesty International had previously urged Zimbabwean authorities to declare an official moratorium on the death penalty.