Rights Lawyers Demand Explanation On Release Of Convicted Rapist
10 July 2023
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Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has demanded an explanation from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) regarding the irregular circumstances that led to the release of a convicted rapist from Harare Central Prison under a recent presidential amnesty order.

Bobby Makaza, a 59-year-old resident of Murehwa in Mashonaland East province, was released from Harare Central Prison on May 19, 2023, under a presidential amnesty declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on May 12, 2023.

The presidential amnesty benefited several inmates, including convicted sexual offenders, after President Mnangagwa issued Clemency Order No. 1 of 2023, exercising his prerogative of mercy to reduce the prison population across the country.

However, ZLHR lawyers Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paidamoyo Saurombe, representing Makaza’s victim, have demanded a detailed explanation from ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu regarding the basis on which Makaza qualified for amnesty and subsequent release from Harare Central Prison under Clemency Order No. 1 of 2023.

Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe informed Chihobvu that Makaza had been convicted of raping a 15-year-old minor in 2018. He stood trial at Murehwa Magistrates Court in Mashonaland East province and was found guilty under section 65 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Makaza was sentenced to serve an effective 16-year prison term on April 2, 2019.

The human rights lawyers pointed out that, according to section 12(d) read with 13(c) of Clemency Order No. 1 of 2023, Makaza, as an inmate convicted of rape, which is a specified offense, should have been excluded from benefiting from the presidential amnesty.

Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe have given Chihobvu until Friday, July 7, 2023, to respond to their letter.