By Robert Tapfumaneyi
GOVERNMENT is set to pardon some 5 000 prisoners from the country’s jails in attempts to decongest its correctional facilities which are holding 22 000 inmates.
This was announced at a post-cabinet media briefing Tuesday by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.
The decision to impose a general amnesty was proposed by the Justice Ministry.
Government set to pardon 5000 prisoners
Posted by New Zimbabwe.com on Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Commenting on the same matter, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said nine categories of inmates are set to benefit from the amnesty.
“What we did is to list the categories prisoners that we are proposing to be given amnesty and we have nine categories,” he said.
“Going forward now, we work on the prisoners to have how many qualify among the nine categories of poisoners that we want to release.
“But our target is we want to release our prison population so that it is within our prison carrying capacity.
“So that is the target and we are very hopeful that we will be able to reduce it from 22 000 to about 17 or 16 00, preferably.”
Ziyambi also said cabinet has not discussed any plans to privatise the country’s prisons in order to improve the living conditions of inmates countrywide.
A 2018 study into the country’s prison conditions by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum highlighted overcrowding within the country’s jails and also cautioned against the ever-present risk of imminent disease outbreaks.
“…Shortages of detergents, soap, body lotion, and other washing aides were rarely adequately supplied and inmates relied on what they received from relatives and well-wishers,” the report noted.
In many prisons, the inmates used buckets to flush their waste either because of water shortages or because the flushing systems were not functioning.
The situation, according to the NGO, violated prisoners’ right to be placed in conditions of detention that were consistent with human dignity as provided for in international instruments and sections of the Constitution.