Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa Grants Amnesty to Over 4,000 Inmates

April 18, 2024
| Report Focus News

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced a significant amnesty, affecting over 4,000 convicts in Zimbabwe, marking a continued effort towards criminal justice reform. The presidential decree, revealed through the General Notice 467 of 2024 Clemency Order No.1, was published in an extraordinary issue of the Gazette this past Monday.

The decree was announced by Mrs. Vimbai Nyemba, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. This year’s amnesty follows a similar measure last year, which resulted in the release of 4,270 inmates. This ongoing initiative underscores the government’s approach towards leniency and societal rehabilitation.

Under the new clemency terms, the decree includes all female prisoners who have served one-third of their sentences, excluding those convicted of severe offenses such as murder, treason, and sexual crimes. Additionally, it benefits male inmates aged under 18 who have met the same criteria, and all prisoners who have served life sentences for at least 20 years.

Moreover, the decree commutes the death sentences of all inmates who have been on death row for more than ten years to life imprisonment. This move is part of a broader shift in Zimbabwe’s penal policy, which increasingly focuses on reform and reintegration rather than strict punitive measures.

In a statement, Mrs. Nyemba highlighted that the amnesty is designed to provide a second chance to those who have shown potential for rehabilitation. This initiative comes as Zimbabwe prepares to celebrate its 44th independence anniversary, adding a layer of symbolic importance to the act of clemency.

The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has been tasked with the selection of eligible inmates and ensuring that those who are terminally ill continue to receive necessary medical care after their release. Assistant Commissioner Meya Khanyezi of the ZPCS hailed the amnesty as a timely and welcome development, emphasizing its role in reducing prison overcrowding and aiding the reintegration of former inmates into society.

As Zimbabwe reflects on its journey since independence, this presidential amnesty not only offers a chance for hundreds to start anew but also serves as a testament to the nation’s growing emphasis on compassion and progressive governance in its penal system.