Government has freed 173 inmates from Harare Central Prison (HCP) under the amnesty by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service public relations officer Priscilla Mthembo said they are targeting to release more than 500 prisoners at HCP.
“We released 173 …but all in all we are expecting to release a total 534,” she told the Daily News.
“However, across the country we have so far released 1 534, of which 199 of them are females,” Mthembo said.
“We haven’t even gotten to 50 percent of releases, hence will be expecting three to four thousand after the whole excise is completed.”
One of the released prisoners was Beroti Maxwell Sibanda, who was sentenced to life imprisonment.
“I want to thank the president, I was sentenced in 1994 for murder, I got a death sentence but after seven years, four months I was moved to life in prison,” he said.
Mnangagwa granted the clemency that will benefit all qualifying convicted female prisoners, juveniles, those terminally ill and those serving at the open prison.
Mnangagwa also freed inmates convicted to life sentences on or before February 28, 1998 for male prisoners and those sentenced on or before February 29, 2010 for female prisoners.
However, the amnesty was not extended to those convicted of murder, rape, carjacking and armed robbery and those who have benefitted from the previous amnesty.
The president can exercise the powers enshrined under the prerogative of mercy covered in Sections 112 (1)(a), (c) and (d) of the Constitution.
The prerogative of mercy refers to the right and power of a sovereign, state president, or other supreme authority to commute a death sentence, to change the mode of execution, or to pardon an offender.