BY BLESSED MHLANGA
In an amnesty published in Government Gazette No 36, general notice 85/2016, Mugabe pardoned all convicted female prisoners regardless of offences, with the exception of a few serving life sentences.
“A full remission of remaining imprisonment is, hereby, granted to all female prisoners regardless of offences committed, save for those sentenced to life imprisonment and to death,” part of the order reads.
Chikurubi Female Prison, which was home to 246 prisoners, released 139 inmates yesterday.
Some of the prisoners were due to serve lengthy jail terms for murder, fraud and armed robbery.
Those who remained behind are inmates still on remand and a few foreigners, who will be released to their respective governments.
Mosline Chakamufuna (25), who was sentenced two weeks ago to 10 years in prison for murdering her child, was one of the beneficiaries of the presidential pardon.
She joins Adlaidy Murombo (21), who was jailed for 10 years in 2014 for attempted murder, after striking her uncle with an iron bar in the eye.
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) acting public relations officer, Superintendent Priscilla Mthembo said more than 2 000 inmates were likely to benefit from the latest presidential pardon.
“We don’t have the total figure at the moment because the verification process is still going on, but we expect over 2 000 prisoners to be released under the amnesty order issued by the President,” she said.
For male prisoners, Mugabe pardoned all those who are under the age of 18 regardless of offences committed, and those over the age of 60, who have served two-thirds of their prison terms and all inmates in open prison.
Terminally-ill prisoners, who were unlikely to survive their prison terms, were fully pardoned regardless of offences.
At Chikurubi Farm Prison, there was still uncertainty, as prison officers were still compiling names of beneficiaries, particularly those jailed for stocktheft, who have served a third of their sentence.
The officer-in-charge of the male prison, Superintendent Tonderai Magwaza, said so far, he had vetted 190 prisoners, who would be released.
Male inmates convicted of murder, rape, armed robbery and treason were not part of those pardoned.
The jail, which has a holding capacity of 560 inmates, currently has 681 prisoners.
Mthembo said the amnesty had the effect of decongesting the 46 prisons around the country, which were currently overpopulated by nearly 16%.
Currently, the correctional facilities have a population of 19 900 inmates, although their total holding capacity is just 17 000.