Zimbabwe’s cabinet has agreed to abolish the death penalty following months of debate in parliament, choosing instead to impose lengthy prison sentences for the worst offences.

The cabinet passed a private member’s bill introduced last year in the National Assembly to abolish the death penalty inherited from British colonial rule.

In a statement, the cabinet said given the need to retain the deterrent element in sentencing murderers, it is expected that the new law will impose lengthy sentences without violating the right to life

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