By Anotida Kwami and Oriel Khumalo
Cabinet has approved the proposed general amnesty which was presented by the Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi in a bid to decongest prisons in the midst of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposed Amnesty which is inline with Section 112 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe 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 .
Minister of Information Publicity and broadcasting services Monica Mutsvangwa in the post cabinet media briefing said the amnesty targets those inmates who have served at least one third of their sentences .
“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 Minister Mutsvangwa.
The Amnesty will however alleviate the challenges of overcrowding prison institutions whose population currently stands at 20 407 against the prison’s holding capacity of 17 000.