ZIMBABWE has approved the granting of General Amnesty to prisoners who have served at least one third of their sentences in a bid to decongest prisons in the midst of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
The move is in line with Section 112 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which empowers the President after consultation with Cabinet,to exercise the power of mercy to grant pardon to any person concerned in or convicted of an offense against law
Briefing journalists during post cabinet media briefing, Information and publicity minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the amnesty was not open to those serving time for serious offences.
The Proposed General Amnesty is targeted at all prisoners who have served at least one third of their sentences, save for those convicted of specified offences such as the following:murder, treason, rape or any sexual offence, carjacking, robbery, stock theft, and public violence. There shall be full remission of sentence to be granted to all prisoners who would have served life imprisonment for at least 15 years commutation,” said Senetor Mutsvangwa.
She added that the amnesty will decongest the prison institution whose population currently stands at 20 407 against the prison’s holding capacity of 17 000. The overpopulation already poses a health hazard, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic and the recommended measures to curtail the spread of the disease.