Wanted: hangman for Zim

HARARE - Wanted: A hangman. High school education required. No experience necessary.

Zimbabwe's last executioner retired after carrying out his last execution in 2004. The departure of the hangman, who was said to be struggling with his conscience, leaves about 50 inmates on death row at Chikurubi maximum security prison outside Harare.

Finding a replacement is not so easy and, according to a prisoners' advocacy group, it has even prepared a "want" advertisement to search for a part-time executioner.

Meanwhile, calls for the abolition of the death penalty have gained steam. Earlier this month, Shepherd Mazango won the support of human rights groups to appeal his death sentence and demand the abolition of the death penalty in the supreme court, the nation's highest tribunal.

"God knows when I am going to be executed. I am anxious about this every day," Mazango, who was convicted of murder in 2002.

Zimbabwe's last hangman left after his contract with the prisons service and justice ministry expired. A former prison officer told The Daily News that the executioner was always extremely remorseful about his job. - Sapa-AP