Although capital punishment was frequently used in the old state of Rhodesia for murder and “political” crimes, it was thought that it would be abandoned when black rule emerged and the country was renamed Zimbabwe in 1980. The new president, Canaan Banana, was a pro-abolitionist, but on Thursday, September 30th, 1982, he allowed two murderers to hang in Harare Prison.

The executions were regarded as “political” in that they might serve as a warning to dissidents planning to threaten the new regime.

Samuel Mahahe was an army deserter who was convicted of murder, robbery and rape in 1981. Stephen Nare was convicted of two murders in 1980, including that of a policeman. He was also a member of a gang which intimidated supporters of the ruling Zanu party.