So the country can’t find a hangman or what? Is that job finding no takers or what?
There are whispers that no one is prepared to take up the job while debate over the death penalty issue continues with Christians saying no one has a right to kill another human being while traditionalists view death penalty as something against the Zimbabwean culture. “It’s unAfrican,” the traditionalists even allege.
Well, whatever the Christians are saying and whatever the views of traditionalists, one gentleman from Chivhu, Mr Alfred Mashamba is dying to take up the job as the country’s hangman.
Mr Mashamba does not mince his words and he sounds like a man getting impatient over the issue.
“I guarantee, I will diligently execute my duties,” he vowed to The Sunday Mail last week in an interview at his plot at Camel Gate Farm some 40 km South West of Chivhu.
“If you have lost someone dear to you because of murder, someone who the whole family looked up to, then you will understand my decision,” said the soft spoken 47-year-old.
Some may ask, is this man losing his senses or what?
Mr Mushamba’s story is simple and straight to the point.
As a young boy in a family of eight, his mother fell ill.
The situation forced his father to drop out of work to take care of the ailing wife, leaving the father’s older brother, Phenias who was working at the National Railways of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo to fend for the family.
“In 1998 Phenias was murdered on his way home from work. Again in 2012 my young brother Charles was also murdered and some of his body parts were removed. The assailants were never found,” he said.
“Last year, my niece was raped and murdered in Mvuma after she had gone to sell fresh milk to fend for her family.”
Because of these murders, I do not feel any remorse for people who commit heinous crimes and would have been seen by the courts as unfit to be in society.”
Although he has managed to build his homestead, rear some livestock, Mr Mashamba believes the murderers of these close family members have destroyed his dreams.
Zimbabwe’s last hangman quit the post in 2005 after hanging two notorious armed criminals Edgar Masendeke and Stephen Chidhumo.
While Mr Mashamba is dying to take up the post as a hangman, his wishes may never come true as Government is considering scrapping off the death sentence from Zimbabwe’s Constitution. However, it looks as if some Zimbabweans are in support of the death sentence.
Under the new constitution, women and persons under the age of the 21 are not eligible for death gallows.
In January, 16 death row inmates challenged their pending executions on the basis that they had overstayed on the death row and that the current legal framework does not allow anyone to be hanged. The inmates have spent between four and 18 years awaiting their fate and argue that Section 48 of the Constitution guarantees everyone right to life. Fourteen of the inmates want the court to remove them from death row and commute their sentences to life imprisonment.
Mr Mashamba, however, feels to convert the sentences to life in prison would be a waste of resources because; “these people will be fed and clothed by the Government all their lives. Their food rations should be given to other more deserving people like widows and orphans who cannot fend for themselves. Murderers should be hanged.
“If the post does not require college qualifications, I will be honoured to be selected. I just need a few instructions on how to tie the noose, otherwise everything else comes naturally.
“I have the guts and I do not forgive easily. I can keep a grudge for 30 years and I believe that is one advantage I have over other people.”
Well, looks like Mr Mashamba is determined to take up the job and as he said all he needs are “a few instructions on how to tie the noose.”