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Monday, 18 July 2011

The Missing Hangman

"In the African culture, a job that entails the killing of another human being is not considered a job at all. It is looked at with contempt and superstition, mostly because as Africans we believe that if one kills another human being the spirit of that person will return to torment its killer and his family. To the best of my knowledge I am not sure when (a hangman) will be engaged. I don’t know whether the process is in motion, but I know there is currently no hangman. Ordinary Zimbabweans are not comfortable with the death penalty. My own suggestion is that all people on death row should have their sentences immediately commuted to life imprisonment. It is psychologically traumatic and inhumane to keep people on death row perpetually..."
Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Justice Obert Gutu on why many people are languishing on Zimbabwe's death row. Since 2005, when Zimbabwe's last hangman retired, there has been a moratorium on executions as the country is still searching for a replacement. Apparently US$300 a month is not enough to entice people to apply! Not that anyone would responding to a job advert that says, "the job include dexterity in tying a knot and a cold-hearted person. Anyone prone to mercy or hesitation is instructed not to apply....the work will have no routine. On any given day [you] could be required to execute between two to four prisoners..."

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