ZIMBABWE: ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY - MPS SAY THEIR HANDS TIED
October 10, 2016: Legislators said their hands are tied over abolition of death penalty in Zimbabwe, saying scrapping the sentence rests more with the executive and political party leaders than Parliament.
Speaking during commemorations of the World Day against Death Penalty, legislators from the parliamentary parties - MDC-T and Zanu PF - said the laws of the country give their superiors control over what MPs do in the August House.
MDC-T legislator Jessie Majome, who also chairs Parliament's Legal committee, said the whipping system compromises their role.
"Our parliament is an arena of party politics. That's the way it is. We take positions in parliament according to what our party decides or doesn't decide.
"I come from a party that has a minority in Parliament therefore I couldn't master enough support when I challenged the death penalty in the house," she said.
Fortune Chasi of Zanu PF concurred, saying MPs could only deliberate and pass such laws with the blessing of the executive.
"The Zimbabwean parliament reacts to what the executive brings before it," he said.
The opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) joined other parties in calling for the immediate abolition of the death penalty in Zimbabwe, saying it was in breach of the country's Constitution, which guarantees and protects the right to life for every citizen.
Official statistics show that there are at least 117 convicted inmates on the death row in Zimbabwe although legislative watchdog Veritas claims the total could be double the figure. (Sources: allafrica.com, 11/10/2016)