By Staff Reporter
SOME 22,114 prisoners are held at various correctional facilities across the country against a combined carrying capacity of 17,000 inmates.
This has given rise to the need to swiftly decongest the institutions to ensure they are habitable.
Addressing the media during a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare Thursday, information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said Cabinet had considered and approved the General Amnesty 2022 as proposed by Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi.
“The nation is being informed that Section 112 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that the President after consultation with Cabinet may exercise the power of mercy to grant pardon to any person convicted of an offence against the law,” she said.
“The rationale behind the proposal is to decongest our prisons, whose population as at 29th August, 2022 stood at 22 114, against an official holding capacity of 17 000 inmates.
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“This situation means that 4 798 inmates do not have adequate floor space as required by the Constitution, and this compromises the health of inmates, among other challenges.”
Mutsvangwa highlighted the amnesty excluded the categories of prisoners who include those previously released on amnesty; those serving a sentence imposed by Court Martial; those with a record of escaping from lawful custody; and those convicted of committing specified offences.
“Specified offences include murder; treason; rape or any sexual offences; carjacking; robbery; public violence; human trafficking; unlawful possession of firearms; contravention of the ZESA Act, the PTC Act and MOPA; and any conspiracy, incitement or attempt to commit any of these offences,” Mutsvangwa said.