UPDATED: President pardons thousands of prisoners

open-jail-cell

Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has pardoned thousands of prisoners including all female inmates as part of measures to decongest the prisons whose population had ballooned to 20 000.

The prisons’ holding capacity is 17 000 inmates.

In a clemency order, President Mnangagwa also commuted to life imprisonment inmates who were on death row for more than 10 years.

However, murder, treason, rape, armed robbery; car-jacking, sexual offences or violence driven offences do not qualify for the Presidential pardon.

The President extended the amnesty in terms of Section 112 (1) (a) and (d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The amnesty has emptied the country’s female and juvenile prisons. “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 or death.

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,” read a statement from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.

President Mnangagwa has also freed all male prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment on or before 28 February 1998 as well as all female prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment on or before 31 December 2010.

By January there were 99 inmates on death row and one of them a woman. “Commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment is hereby granted to all prisoners who have been on death row for ten years and above,” read the statement
Also pardoned are inmates sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 36 months and below and who would have served a quarter of their sentence.

All terminally ill prisoners serving long terms irrespective of offences committed will be released as well as all those housed at Connemara Open Prison while inmates aged above 60 years, who have served one third of their sentence, would also be released.

“This category consists of prisoners who as a result of good behaviour and a genuine desire to reform whilst in closed prison have been selected for the open prison rehabilitation programmes,” read the statement.

Inmates convicted of stocktheft who would have served one third of their sentence have also been freed.

Disabled inmates, who are blind and physically disabled and those who rely on other persons to be moved around the prison have also been released. “An additional one quarter remission of the remaining effective period of imprisonment is hereby granted to all those prisoners sentenced to imprisonment for a period of more than 36 months and have served at least one third of the effective term of imprisonment”.

Habitual criminals serving extended imprisonment, people previously released on amnesty, people sentenced by a court martial and any person who escaped from lawful custody will remain behind bars.

Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Elizabeth Banda, commended President Mnangagwa for pardoning prisoners which will decongest the prisons.

“The exercise has not only gone a long way in decongesting our prisons but has served as a reminder to inmates and society that the purpose of imprisonment is founded on the pretext of reformation than retribution. It is now left to society to ensure that those released reintegrate safely and well in their respective communities,” said Asst Comm Banda.

She encouraged society to assist and accept the returnees as they have made efforts to rehabilitate them and also urged the beneficiaries of the amnesty to desist from committing further offences.

“We call upon all stakeholders including families, churches, after care groups, business community and society at large to facilitate the ex-offenders’ reintegration.

“Beneficiaries of this presidential pardon are advised to respect this amnesty by refraining from further committing crimes that will see them returning to prison. We expect them to live as law-abiding citizens if society is to trust and embrace them,” she said.

@AuxiliaK

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  • Brathabs

    Really thought I was going to vote for Ed, but after this very controversial decision to pardon criminals convicted on very serious criminal charges. I’ll be voting for MDC’s Nelson Chamisa. Ed has betrayed African conservative principals.

    • Mumanyikawakaroka

      Only the poor go to prison in Zimbabwe, the rich buy their way out, legally or otherwise. The rich can afford legal representation, lodge appeal after appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, by which time some of us will be halfway through our sentence. So let the poor and those who don’t pay bribes also enjoy their freedom, nobody is perfect before God and Man.

    • Chokwadi

      A president who undermines justice, he has proved himself a fool and immature.

  • bh

    so that they can thank him by voting? How can he release criminals to society just for the vote? Let the amnesty be effective after elections. The prisoners and their familiies and their friends will want to reward the president. No man

    • Chokwadi

      It will just backfire : the victims of these criminals will vote against him.

  • Mafirakureva

    This is meant to benefit Kereke, his rapist homeboy and right hand man

    • World Citizen

      But it is said that sexual offences do not qualify, sei uri dununu so? Haugoni kuverenga kana kuti unongomhanya kuvukura waverenga headline?

      • Mafirakureva

        So you must be the editor or writer of this article mboko iwe, otherwise why did you not let my comment pass through? Zvakubataka kati analysis one zero???

      • Mafirakureva

        Iwe bharanzi iwe, you have eyes but you can’t see, Kereke is a sexual offender but 2 weeks ago he was moved to Conemara open prison and this article says all those at Conemara will be released…dzokera kuchikoro unfounda coding mboko iwe

  • jonso

    It is his right as president to pardon wether elections or no….well done ED you have my vote

    • Chokwadi

      Do you think Mugabe and Mnangagwa are different ? Wasn’t he part of the same incompetent government that destroyed the country? ED is more of the same . . .

  • musa

    hope they have been reformed else these are dangerous times

  • S B DUBE

    aaaaaahhh are males and females equal before the law ? as a principle …..the president’s judgement here hmmmmmmmmmm. and he did it while on his travels ???? very soon he will beat Mugabe’s presidential mileage. IS HE CREATING ROOM IN PRISONS FOR THOSE WHO EXTERNALISED MONEY ???? WHAT IS THE JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS AMNESTY ???

  • S B DUBE

    they care about criminals in prison more than about the thousands of patients in hospitals who are suffering because of the doctors’ strike ?????? they dont care to address the concerns of doctors …and now teachers are also threatening to go on strike…and you say Zimbabwe is open for business ???? !!!!!! Ny’ambo chaidzo

    • World Citizen

      All these people who are only now threatening and conducting strike action are trying to armtwist the government and use their leverage to influence the president. This is blackmail. They know the president inherited a decrepit country and is trying to resuscitate is and they are trying to derail the progress being made in order to force the president to capitulate. If I were ED, I would give them the money for the next 3 months and win the election then rationalise this after elections and wait for proper economic recovery before spending money we dont have on salaries for civil servants. They are well paid compared to the ordinary zimbabwean and need to know that for conditions to improve, there is a need for things to be done in time. Also, this is just political moves from opposition aligned unions pushing to make the president look bad before a crucial election

      • God of War

        So you want the doctors to work for peanuts? I doubt u urself would want to earn peanuts after spending 5 years at university. Be serious

        • World Citizen

          You all know how this strike has been hijacked by Nelson Chamisa and the doctors are using that as leverage. Unethical havks the lot. Noone wants them to earn peanuts but for christsCsake, they cannot let people die for a few pieces of silver

          • God of War

            When the doctors go to the shops to buy bread, there are not given free bread cz they are doctors, they pay like everyone else. Why don’t you go train to be a doctor and lets see if you will work for less than $400 a month. Don’t get emotional, but look at things realistically.

      • Chokwadi

        “They know the president inherited a decrepit country” ha ha . . .and wasn’t part of government that destroyed Zimbabwe ? Wasn’t he a member of zanu pf ?

  • makhelwane

    some of these convicts names should be kept in some form of register to monitor their after prison life as they can cause havoc especially those who are murderers.They should be assessed to see if they really deserve pardoning, otherwise this is creating nightmares for law abiding citizens. l stay with an ex convict all the relatives do not want him near them so l chipped in but the guy is no good , l now fear for my life

    • Chokwadi

      Mnangagwa is fool, the whole thing is a stupid mistake. Did they even take time to discuss all this ? He will do more harm to the country if he wins (rigs)the elections.

  • God of War

    So women who killed their husbands are now free to get other men to kill. This ED fellow is no good. I’m beginning to believe Jonathan Moyo when he says he is an EDiot.

    • Chokwadi

      This mistake has proven to me beyond any doubt, that he is unfit to lead.

  • timmie Dance

    ED is fine let fools be readmitted. if they want.If pardoned and commit any offence imhosva yake.

  • adie

    zimbos now have a ‘criticize him syndrome’ when are we going to see good things done to us. chimbovhairai zvenyu muchaita mushe after elections.

  • Chokwadi

    He is not fit to be a president : does he know that these criminals ended the lives of others : there are people who have lost loved ones because of the senseless crimes of the people he has pardoned.

    This is the same attitude they have towards corruption in government : justice is not upheld. Instead they should be making arrangements to build more prisons, this man is a fool and unfit to lead.

    He will campaign at any cost and risk.