Zimbabwe battles to find a hangman

2010-04-17 00:00

HARARE — Zimbabwe is having difficulty finding an executioner –— which is why “only 60” condemned prisoners have been hanged since independence in 1980.

Zimbabwe’s chief legal officer, Chris Mutangadura, says the previous executioner, a Zambian, resigned in 2005, and attempts to replace him have not succeeded.

Mutangadura confirmed on Wednesday that more than 50 condemned prisoners are languishing in the Chikurubi maximum security prison, waiting for their death sentences to be carried out.

“One of the problems is that in Zimbabwe we don’t advertise the position of executioner, while in other countries, like Zambia, they do. The remuneration is a negotiable contract which is also not disclosed,” Mutangadura said.

The previous executioner resigned a year after hanging the notorious armed robbers Edmore Masendeke and Stephen Chidhumo in 2005. He was described as a hesitant and extremely remorseful executioner.

Because of their cultural convictions and a fear of avenging spirits, Zimbabweans are afraid of doing a job that involves taking other people’s lives.


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