President’s prisoner pardons backfire as freed inmates start committing crimes again, 15 rearrested

Commissioner Paul Nyathi

Several prisoners in Zimbabwe who were recently released through a presidential amnesty have been rearrested for new crimes. Last month, President Emmerson Mnangagwa released over 4,000 inmates to decongest prisons and promote better living conditions.

However, police spokesperson Paul Nyathi revealed that at least 15 of the released prisoners have now been rearrested for various offenses across the country. The crimes they were rearrested for include theft, armed robbery, stock theft and even murder.

One man was arrested in Harare for murder, two were arrested in Matabeleland South for armed robbery, and one was arrested in Mashonaland West for stock theft. The rest were arrested for offenses like theft and unlawful entry. Some have already been convicted while others still have pending court cases.

For example, a 23-year-old man from Harare who recently benefited from the presidential clemency has been sentenced to one year in prison for breaking into a house in Borrowdale and stealing blankets, an inverter and cellphones.

The man, Brian James, pleaded guilty in court and was initially sentenced to 15 months in jail. However, the judge suspended 3 months of the sentence on the condition of good behavior. Police proved that James used stolen keys to enter the house while the owners were at church and stole the electronics and blankets.

The cases show that despite best intentions, some of the prisoners released under presidential amnesty have reoffended, leading to their rearrest and new convictions.

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