TWO NATIONS REPORTER
BEITBRIDGE- Residents of Beitbridge have called on Government to uphold the death sentence because cases of murder and armed robbery are increasing daily.
The border town residents aired their views during a death sentence consultation held by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs at Vhembe Primary School on Monday.
The consultations are being held nationwide with support from the Centre for Applied Legal Research (CARL) and the Embassy of Switzerland.
Government representative, Netsai Zvakasikwa told the consultation that courts consider the murder circumstances, a murder committed in connection with other offences like insurgency, banditry, rape, kidnapping, terrorism, unlawful entry, illegal detention, robbery, hijacking, piracy, escaping from lawful custody or malicious damage to property in passing the penalty.
One resident, Rhofiwa Ndou, said the death sentence must be upheld and imposed on women as they are also committing heinous crimes like men.
“We need equality, women are acting like men these days, and they kill because the death penalty does not apply to them. The law should be equally applied to everyone who kills in an aggravated manner.
“Personally, l feel that before Government sits to decide on upholding or removing the death penalty, we must get rid of section 48(2) (c) and (d) of the constitution stating that only men between the ages of 21-69 are the ones to whom the death penalty applies. The sentence should apply to everyone,” said Ndou.
Another resident, Abigail Muleya said the death penalty should remain as it serves as a deterrent to would-be murderers.
“I think the death penalty must stay because it reduces the number of murder cases in the country. After the hanging of Chidhumo and Masendeke in 2005, only 62 criminals got death sentences. This shows us that this law is working,” said Muleya.
Another resident said the death penalty should remain and apply to men and women who kill newborn babies or abandon them.
“Death penalty must also include those who rape and those who abandoned or kill newly born babies. We should take a leaf from neighbouring countries that removed this law and have become lawless, you see people being murdered in aggravating circumstances daily. South Africa and Mozambique are good examples where people are killed almost every day,” she said
Natasha Mutsa said the penalty should be scrapped because it serves no purpose.
“The penalty is inhuman and it does not solve anything since the life of the murderer is cut short before experiencing suffering. I think that person must be given some means of punishment as solitary confinement for more than five years,” she said.