PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has granted amnesty to at least 4 000 prisoners to ease congestion in prisons across the country.
Addressing a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had greenlighted the amnesty pending Mnangagwa’s signature.
“The nation is being informed that section 112 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that the President after consultation with Cabinet may exercise the power of mercy to grant pardon to any person convicted of an offence against the law,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The rationale behind the proposal is to decongest our prisons, whose population as at 29 August, 2022 stood at 22 114, against an official holding capacity of 17 000 inmates.
“This situation means that 4 798 inmates do not have adequate floor space as required by the Constitution and compromises the health of inmates, among other challenges.”
Mutsvangwa, however, said not all prisoners were eligible for amnesty especially those convicted of human trafficking, murder and unlawful possession of firearms, among others.
“The amnesty excludes the following categories of prisoners: those previously released on amnesty; those serving a sentence imposed by court martial, those with a record of escaping from lawful custody; and those Convicted of committing specified offences,” she said.
“Specified offences include murder; treason; rape or any sexual offences; carjacking; robbery; public violence; human trafficking; unlawful possession of firearms; contravention of the Zesa Act, the PTC Act and Mopa and any conspiracy, incitement or attempt to commit any of these offences.”
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In 2021, at least 3 000 inmates were granted presidential amnesty.