Ministry of Justice Gears to Consult the Masses on the Death Penalty

Following the announcement by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (MoJLPA) that it will hold nationwide consultations on the death penalty, seeking to solicit people’s views on it, the Ministry of Justice held Training of the Trainers’ sessions (ToTs) in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare.

The ToTs ran from the 13th of March to the 17th of March 2023.

The ToTs were aimed at capacitating village health workers, case care workers, youth officers, Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and personnel from the Ministry of Health and Child Care who will be key in mobilizing the people for the scheduled grassroots consultations.

“… a high-level consultative meeting (in Kadoma) enabled the stakeholders to agree to go nationwide and get views from the general public …” said Mr. Manhiri in a side interview after the holding of Harare ToT.

The Kadoma meeting set the ball rolling and the MoJLPA expanded on that meeting with an effort to come up with a binding position on the death penalty based on people’s views.

“… the people will guide the ministry …”, further added Mr. Manhiri. The ministry will have a position on the death penalty by assessing what the people want, the people’s position will become the ministry’s position.

Case care workers, health workers, youth officers, CBOs and CSOs were drawn from different parts of the country, to train them about the death penalty and how it is couched in our statute books, the trained stakeholders will then relay this information in their communities, disseminating the important information in preparation for the grassroots consultations that are set to start from the 27th of March 2023 up to 7 April 2023.

Speaking at the Harare meeting, Mr. Kabara, senior law officer with the Ministry of Justice, notified the invited trainees that the training was intended to inform the trainees about what the law says about the death penalty and international statutes that Zimbabwe subscribe to.

He further notified the mobilisers that the death penalty is topical across the world, with some for it and others against it. And he said that since Zimbabwe is in a global village, it is important for the state to see how laws are made elsewhere and assess if they can either incorporate the laws or not.

The mobilisers are tasked with educating the people and mobilising the general public to attend the scheduled grassroots consultation, where the MoJLPA will give the general people an opportunity to share their views, views that will be crucial in informing a death penalty position in Zimbabwe.

Speaking on a sideline interview on the ToTs in Bulawayo, Youth Officer, Mr. Shockson Reward was grateful for the ToT session.

For him, the session was fruitful as he will go and mobilise the people from an informed position on whether to keep or scrap the death penalty. He explained how the information he gathered will lessen his task, he will go to his area of influence and ensure that they will be fair representation at the consultations and that people will air their opinions from a well-informed position.

The ToTs have set the ground and the Ministry of Justice will from the 27 of March 2023 start to consult the nation on the death penalty. People’s views will shape the Ministry’s and the country’s position.

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