PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has pardoned at least 3 000 prisoners under the Presidential amnesty to decongest the country’s overpopulated Zimbabwean prisons which currently have 20 000 inmates against a combined carrying capacity of 17 000 prisoners.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Deputy Commissioner-General Alford Dube said they were still in the process of vetting beneficiaries of the amnesty and those who qualify would be released soon.
However, prominent figures such as former Zanu PF strongman Munyaradzi Kereke and clergyman Robert Gumbura are unlikely to benefit from the amnesty as their crimes do not fit into the criteria released yesterday.
Female prisoners, juveniles and terminally-ill inmates will be the major beneficiaries of the amnesty.
“A full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment is hereby granted to all female prisoners, regardless of the offence committed, save for those sentenced to life imprisonment and to death,” Dube said.
“Full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment is hereby granted to all juvenile prisoners under the age of 18 years serving terms of imprisonment, irrespective of the offences they committed.
“Full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment is hereby granted to all those prisoners sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 36 months and below and who would have served a quarter of their sentence by the date of gazetting of this clemency order.”
Others set to benefit are the blind or physically disabled prisoners to the extent that they resort to use of their hands to move around the correctional facilities.
Those in open prison will benefit too, in addition to prisoners aged 60 years and above who would have served one third of their sentences by the date of gazetting, save for those sentenced to life imprisonment or on death row.
Interestingly, those on death row for more than 10 years will now be on life imprisonment. Those serving more than 36 months and have already served a third of their sentences will get a quarter remission on their total sentences.
However, habitual criminals serving a term of extended imprisonment, those previously released on amnesty, those serving a sentence imposed by a court martial or those who escaped from lawful custody will not benefit.
Dube also appealed to members of society and several stakeholders to embrace and assist the returnees.