Friday, April 16, 2010

Job Opening: Hangman

Despite an unemployment rate of 94%, there’s one job in Zimbabwe that no one seems to want – hangman at the Chikurubi prison outside of the capital, Harare. In fact, according to Zimbabwe’s Daily News via the UK’s Guardian, the job has gone unfilled since the last hangman quit in 2005. Officials in Zimbabwe say candidates for the job do not need any previous experience, prison administrators will even instruct the new hangman on how to tie a proper noose.

While this story sounds kind of funny on the surface and you would think the 50-odd men on death row would actually welcome the lack of an executioner, the reality is somewhat different. Chikurubi prison has a notorious reputation as one of the worst prisons in the entire world, and President Robert Mugabe has refused to commute the sentences of any of the death row inmates, leaving them stuck in a hellish limbo, some for more than a decade. At this point, some of the prisoners would like a new hangman to be found just to get their sentence over with.

But so far there are no takers. Attempts to get the former hangman to come out of retirement also apparently have failed, since he reportedly always had a guilty conscience about his job.
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