PROSECUTOR-GENERAL Johannes Tomana has backed the retention of the death penalty, saying any death should be avenged and God will not be happy if capital punishment was scrapped from the statutes.
Addressing a National Prosecuting Authority workshop in Bulawayo, Tomana said even if other countries had scrapped the law, it was in Zimbabwe’s best interests to maintain it.
“Personally, I believe in the sixth commandment, which says ‘thou shall not kill’ and also that any blood spilt should be avenged,” he said.
“But other countries have moved on, God will not smile at us if we condone such acts.”
With the adoption of the new Constitution last year, Zimbabwe partially abolished the death penalty, with women no longer being sentenced to death.
However, the death penalty can be imposed for murder committed in aggravating circumstances on men between the ages of 21 and 70.
Tomana said because the country retained the capital punishment sentence, a number of murder suspects had fled to South Africa and attempts to repatriate them had failed as the neighbouring country did not deport people who face the death sentence in their own countries.
The death penalty is outlawed in South Africa.
Tomana said despite his feelings on the death penalty, he would not debate with policy-makers on the abolition of the capital sentence.
“Remember, we are not activists, but law experts and so whether it makes sense to us or not we will not debate,” he said.
“There should be no political emotions at work because politicians can talk casually about issues, but we are only allowed to make investigated decisions and not allegations.
“We are not here for arguments because I did not write the Constitution, I was not even consulted. It is the peoples will which we must enforce.”
Speaking on prosecutors’ conditions of service, Tomana said the law officers should be above reproach and their work must justify salaries.