The recent Presidential pardon, where 2,000 cons were released onto the streets of Zimbabwe, was widely-publicised.
Most media reports I was exposed to (and believe me, I’ve been exposed to a LOT) were pretty detailed about the criteria to be used.
Under Mugabe’s order published in the Government Gazette, habitual criminals serving a term of extended imprisonment, any person under death sentence, any person service a sentence imposed by court martial, a person who escaped from lawful custody and is still at large and any person serving a jail term for a specified offence will not qualify for amnesty.
Cases listed under specified offences include rape, murder, treason, carjacking, armed robbery and stock theft.
I can’t find online access to the Government Gazette, so we’ll just take NewsDay’s word for it in this case.
So, no murderers were to be pardoned according to Mugabe’s order.
In today’s edition of NewsDay, there’s an article in which a recently-pardoned ex-con is pleading poverty.
Gift Chirwa, who had served six years of his 15-year jail term for the murder of his then seven-year-old son in 2008, said he had now turned into a street beggar following his release from St Thomas Prison in Marondera on February 12.
The reporter, one Philip Chidavaenzi, doesn’t bother to ask Comrade Chirwa just how he’s out of prison under this amnesty. He’s a murderer, so he shouldn’t be out. He’s only served SIX of his 15 years.
So what happened? Is this the only murderer released the other week? Are there more murderers, rapists and armed robbers running around free?
Again, we need answers. It’s too bad none of our “journalists” seem willing to ask the questions.
What happened here?