President Mnangagwa pardons over 4 000 prisoners President Mnangagwa

Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has granted amnesty to over 4 000 convicts in various categories and also commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment to all inmates who have been on death row for 10 years and above. 

Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary, Mrs Vimbai Nyemba announced in General Notice 467 of 2024 Clemency Order No.1 of 2024 published in an Extraordinary Gazette on Monday.

Last year the President granted amnesty to 4 270 inmates.

Beneficiaries of the amnesty include all female inmates who have served one-third of their sentence by today excluding those serving time for specified offences and those who have previously been released on amnesty.

Specified offences are murder, treason, rape or any sexual offence, carjacking, robbery, public violence, human trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms, contravention of the Electricity Act, contravention of the Postal and Telecommunications Act, contravention of the Public Order and Security Act/ Maintenance of Peace and Order Act and any conspiracy, incitement or attempt to commit any of the offences listed above.

Inmates under 18 years of age will also benefit if they have served one-third of their sentence by today.

Those charged under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act are excluded from the Presidential amnesty.

Prisoners serving an effective period of 48 months and below who would have served one-third of their sentence by today provided they are not convicted for specified offences, will also benefit.

The President also pardoned inmates certified terminally ill by a correctional medical officer or a Government medical officer with the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) required to liaise with the Department of Social Welfare so that there is continuity of treatment after release.

Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services

Inmates who are certified by a correctional medical officer or a Government medical officer to be visually impaired and those who are physically challenged to the extent that they cannot be catered for in a prison or correctional environment and have served one-third of their sentence by April today will also be pardoned.

Those serving their sentences at open prisons provided they were not charged under the Criminal Code will also be released while those above 60 years will also benefit if they have served one-tenth of their sentence by April  today and were not charged under the same law.

“Full remission of the remaining period is hereby granted to all those inmates who would have served life imprisonment for at least 20 years. This includes inmates sentenced to life imprisonment and inmates whose sentences were commuted from death to life imprisonment.

“In this case, the period of 20 years will include the period when the inmate was serving as a prisoner under sentence of death and inmates whose sentences were altered to life imprisonment on appeal or review,” reads part of the order.

The Presidential pardon excludes any inmate who was previously released on amnesty, those serving a sentence imposed by Court Martial and those who escaped from lawful custody.

ZPCS national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Meya Khanyezi said the Presidential Amnesty was a welcome development. 

“This comes at an opportune time when Zimbabweans are commemorating Independence, which is a reflection of President Mnangagwa’s compassion. ZPCS is in the process of selecting deserving candidates and we challenge those who would benefit to fully utilise the second chance to reform,” she said.

Asst Comm Khanyezi said the Presidential Amnesty serves as a tangible demonstration of the Government’s commitment to the rehabilitation of inmates.

“It is a significant step towards building a harmonious and inclusive society where every individual has the opportunity to contribute positively to development. To the beneficiaries of this amnesty, we extend our warmest congratulations and encourage them to seize this fresh start as an opportunity for personal growth and transformation,” she said.

Asst Comm Khanyezi said the broader society should also embrace the pardoned prisoners.

“It is crucial to remember that freedom comes with great responsibility. We urge all beneficiaries of this amnesty to make wise choices, embrace a path of righteousness and desist from activities that may lead them back to prison,” she said.

“As a society, we must create an environment that welcomes and supports the re-entry of these individuals into our communities. Together we can break the cycle of recidivism and build a brighter future for all Zimbabweans.”

Asst Comm Khanyezi said the Amnesty coincides with the country’s 44th independence anniversary and should be a reminder of the spirit of unity and progress that has defined the country.

“As we reflect on our past achievements, let us also embrace the notion of second chances and the power of redemption. 

“The Presidential amnesty serves as a reminder that we are a compassionate society willing to extend a helping hand to those who seek a better path,” she said. — @nqotshili






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