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President Mnangagwa pardons prisoners

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has issued a special Clemency Order that will see release of prisoners from the country’s jails.

Annually, the President releases prisoners in a move also meant to decongest the overcrowded jails in the country. Zimbabwe’s prisons should hold a maximum of 17,000 inmates, but the number balloons to over 20,000.

Last year, President Mnangagwa gazetted a Clemency Order releasing inmates from jail on 12 May. Following the gazetting of Clemency Order No.1 of 2024, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service will begin verifying potential beneficiaries.

The proclamation by President Mnangagwa also specified the inmates eligible for release.

Also Read: US removes Zimbabwe sanctions regulations

Female Prisoners

President Mnangagwa has cut short the sentences of all convicted female inmates except those sentenced for certain crimes to be listed in this article. Only inmates who have served a third of their sentences are eligible.

Juvenile Inmates

All prisoners under 18 years who have served one-third of their sentences will walk free. Inmates charged under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] are excluded from this Amnesty.

Prisoners Sentenced To 48 Months And Below

President Mnangagwa Releases Prisoners
President Emmerson Mnangagwa Releases Prisoners [Image: AFP]


The President has remitted sentences of all prisoners serving an effective period of 48 months and below and who would have served a third of their sentence by 18 April 2024.

Terminally-Ill Inmates

President Mnangagwa has pardoned prisoners who are terminally ill. The Order added that the Department of Correctional Services should liaise with Social Welfare so that inmates continue treatment after release.

Inmates In Open Prison

There has been a complete remission of sentence to all inmates serving terms at the Open Prison.

Prisoners Aged 60 And Above

The President has slashed the remaining sentences of inmates aged 60 years and above who have served a tenth of their jail term.

Life Imprisonment Inmates

The Clemency Order has pardoned life imprisonment inmates. These should have served life imprisonment for at least 20 years. The amnesty applies to those serving life imprisonment and those whose sentences were commuted from death to life imprisonment.

Change Of Sentence For Prisoners On The Death Row

President Mnangagwa has commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment for all inmates who have been on death row for ten years or more.

Prisoners With Disabilities

The President has also pardoned all inmates who are certified by a Correctional Medical Officer or a Government Medical Officer to have a visual impairment and those with physical disabilities to the extent that they cannot be catered for in a Prison or Correctional environment and have served one-third of their sentence by tomorrow.

Some Prisoners Granted One-Quarter Remission

The Order has also slashed a quarter of the sentence for prisoners serving more than 48 months who have been in jail for at least one-third of the sentence.


Prisoners Who Do Not Qualify For The Presidential Clemency

The following are ineligible for amnesty:

  • inmates who were previously released on amnesty
  • prisoners serving a sentence imposed by Court Martial (military court)
  • those who have a record of escaping from lawful custody.

Inmates in jail for the following crimes will also remain in prison:

  1. Murder
  2. Treason
  3. Rape or any sexual offence
  4. Carjacking
  5. Robbery
  6. Public violence
  7. Human trafficking
  8. Unlawful possession of a firearm
  9. Contravention of the Electricity Act
  10. Contravention of the Postal and Telecommunications Act
  11. Contravention of the Public Order and Security Act/ Maintenance of Peace and Order Act
  12. Any conspiracy, incitement or attempt to commit any of the abovementioned offences.


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