Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

The death penalty is revenge and not justice

TOP del.icio.us

Whose right is it to kill?

Many countries in the world have abolished the death penalty but in Zimbabwe it is still in existence. Zimbabwe is crafting a new constitution and COPAC has submitted a Second Draft Constitution and if it passes will undergo a referendum. In this draft the death penalty is abolished – but only for women. This has led to many human rights organisation calling for an absolute abolition of the death penalty. The Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO) an organisation committed to advocating for justice in prisons of Zimbabwe is amongst these organisations.

In Zimbabwe there are 71 people on the death row and three of them are women with the last execution being carried out in 2005. Elisha Chidombwe of ZACRO indicated that on each of their visits to Harare Central Prison they visit a guy who has served 15 years waiting for a resolution. Sadly he mentioned that many people facing the death penalty die before their penalty day because of isolation and the fear of death itself.

ZACRA believes that the death penalty is revenge and not justice. The organisation opts for the provision of correctional activities in prisons for those who would have committed offenses that carry the death penalty. The organisation is currently circulating a petition to present to Parliament to abolish the death penalty. They are hoping to get 2 million signatures.

If you want to put an end to the death penalty in Zimbabwe, contact ZACRO and make your signature count as your voice!

3 comments to “The death penalty is revenge and not justice”

  1. Comment by Dorina Lisson (ACADP):

    Confucius say … “Before embarking on an act of revenge, dig two graves”.

  2. Comment by Butler Kapumha:

    Do not oversimplify this debate. The debate has to start with a definition of the key word ‘justice’. How do you define that word. For the debate to be effective, there should be a comparison between the pros and cons. What are the benefits of maintaining a capital punishment or its abolition.

    In my view, a person has to be be liable and accountable for the actions he/she partakes in- both conscious and sub-conscious. As such for every civil and criminal deviation, a person should be punished by appropriate means.
    The judiciary arm of the government has the duty and mandate to protect its citizens, thus promoting social development in a healthy and safe environment.
    Not always is a death penalty a revenge. Besides whats wrong with revenge? You just want it one way? How is it possible you want to kill but not be killed? Murder but not murdered? The justice system can be both retributive and restorative. But by focusing on just restoring the perpetrator- still cannot account for the harm caused, in most cases. Supposedly, a person guilty of genuine treason, a person who for example can sell information to an enemy resulting in the death of lives he surely deserves capital punishment, not because we want to revenge but it is best interest of both justice and the people for a person to pay for the lives he destroyed with intent over his personal interest, with his own life. Suppose we find out someone sold information that resulted in the Nyadzonya massarcre, how would you rehabilitate such a person? Do you think the Justice Minstry would be glad to keep him, at it’s own expense, maybe at Chikurubi waiting for his death. Therefore how does you ‘justice’ get served. The fallacy of of your so-called rehabilitation program rehabilitates the perpetrator but the people who genuinely need it are neglected. There is no way you can change the minds and hearts of psychopaths, Self centered, delusional criminals. #Refer to Ted Bundy interview, a serial killer interviewed a day before his execution but never showed a shred of remorse#.
    There is no way you can successfully rehabilitate 10 000 people in Zimbabwe (success being 10%). It is just a mere waste of resource to keep a person idle for 70 years, whereas you can execute him at no cost.
    Do you admire the Norwegian system that gave a maximum possible of 21 years for a psychopathic unrepentant serial killer who killed 77 people and promises more the moment he gets a chance??? But I admire the death sentence handed on war criminals.
    More so there is a clear contradiction of principle. There is a tendency to argue against the capital punishment along humanist lines, but the fallacy of that principle is that humanism is a far fetched idealistic concept that can never be practicalized. Why do you want to invoke such principles only when you do not want to pay for your wrongs.
    Lastly, the Constitution is stupid in exempting women. Is this part of the gender equality agenda? This is absurd. What’s the rationale? Everyone is equal, non is more equal than the other, male or female, rich or poor, black or white. This is preposterous. It is just as good as saying women can kill with the free pass to do so.

  3. Comment by Dorina Lisson (ACADP):

    Butler Kapumha said; “Everyone is equal, non is more equal than the other, male or female, rich or poor, black or white.” … I absolutely agree!

    So, how do the innocent family members and loved ones of executed offenders receive their ‘justice’? Are they also entitled to seek ‘revenge’? Let’s not discriminate between victims. Innocent victims of legalized killing are the hidden, forgotten, silent suffering victims of state-sanctioned killing. When society kills it kills in all our name, therefore we too are killers – not physically but emotionally and psychologically.

    Does ‘legalized killing’ make us any better or more equal to that of offenders? I believe not! Most heinous crimes are committed by mentally unstable people. Their actions are influenced by various causes and conditions. The death penalty merely punishes the person and not their action.

    Both murderers and supporters of the death penalty deserve our compassion because similarly their minds are poisoned by ignorance, anger, hatred and rage.

    Punishment of the offender should be carried out with compassion not though anger, hatred and rage and not for retribution, since retribution is purely another name for revenge – ‘revenge’ implies the action of revenge is done with anger, hatred and rage.

    Ending the life of another is done in self-defense. Some people view the death penalty as society’s attempt at self-defense. But when there are other means available to prevent a person from harming others. Incarceration of offenders protects the innocents from the dangerous.

    The death penalty teaches our children that killing is ‘alright’ in some circumstances. Countering violence with state-sanctioned violence, only results in more violence.