Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

Harare — At least 50 people want to become Zimbabwe’s hangman, a job that fell vacant over a decade ago, officials said on Tuesday, stressing that applicants were "very interested" in the role.

The country, which has an unemployment rate of more than 90% by some measures, last executed a prisoner in 2005, after which the serving hangman retired.

"The response has been overwhelming and the applications have been from both men and women," justice ministry secretary Virginia Mabhiza told the NewsDay newspaper. "We have received more than 50 applications in the past few months. People are very interested."

After a long search, a new hangman was reported to have been appointed in 2012, but the chosen candidate was never confirmed.

Rights groups, including Amnesty International, have often called on Zimbabwe, which has 92 inmates on death row, to abolish capital punishment. Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution exempts women from the hangman’s noose.

"All men between 18 and 69 years [who] have been convicted of murder in aggravated circumstances can receive capital punishment," Mabhiza was quoted as saying, but she did not say when the hangman would be appointed or if Zimbabwe intended to revive executions soon.

Vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was justice minister until a recent cabinet reshuffle, is a strong opponent of the death penalty.

AFP

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