Harare - Zimbabwe's traditional chiefs have unanimously voted to have the death penalty scrapped, claiming that it was against their traditional beliefs, reports said on Wednesday.
The traditional rulers described the death penalty as a "cruel and inhuman practice" which stained their culture.
New Zimbabwe quoted the president of the Chief Council, Fortune Charumbira, as saying that cultural context had to be considered when dealing with the death penalty.
Charumbira said this during a workshop hosted by the Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and rehabilitation of the Offender (Zacro) in the capital Harare.
The workshop followed the protracted case of 18 prisoners who are challenging the re-evaluation of their sentences after they have been waiting for a hangman for nearly two decades.
According to NewsDay the chiefs said they preferred murder convicts to pay appeasement tokens.
Zacro chief executive officer, Edson Chiota, applauded the discussion held with the chiefs on the matter, saying that it was "refreshing" to note that many chiefs were against capital punishment.
"The discussion was so mature to the point that almost all the chiefs agreed that capital punishment must be abolished. They believe in appeasement. Chiefs said the act of punishing by killing will not in any way solve the problems of murder in Zimbabwe, hence other forms of punishment must be found," Chiota was quoted as saying.
Reports indicate that the southern African country is struggling to find a suitable hangman, as there is no one "willing" to fill the post, with locals saying the job is "demeaning".
- News 24