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12 Years Without an Execution: Is Zimbabwe Ready for Abolition? (2018)

  • Reports and Studies
  • 22 May 2018

The Death Penalty Project, in partnership with Zimbabwean NGO Veritas commissioned an independent public opinion survey on the death penalty in Zimbabwe.

A survey was undertaken with a nationally representative sample of 1,200 Zimbabweans in the summer of 2017. The study was undertaken by Dr Mai Sato, University of Reading, with the support of the University of Zimbabwe. The report provides for the first time comprehensive and contextualised data on public attitudes towards the death penalty in Zimbabwe – a country that has not carried out any executions in more than a decade.

Key findings include:-

Support for the death penalty is relatively low

  • 61% of Zimbabweans supported retention of the death penalty (41% thought it should ‘definitely’ be kept and 20% that it should ‘probably’ be kept)
  • However, when confronted with a range of typical case scenarios, a majority of Zimbabweans rejected imposing the death penalty in five out of six cases

Support for the death penalty is not entrenched

  • 92% of Zimbabweans considered policies other than ‘more executions’ to be the most effective at reducing violent crime
  • 80% of those Zimbabweans who expressed support for the death penalty would be willing to accept abolition if it were to become government policy

Public knowledge about the death penalty is limited

  • 83% were unaware that Zimbabwe has not carried out any executions in the past decade
  • 45% did not know that the method of execution in Zimbabwe is hanging

Watch this short video on the findings:-

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