The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) has submitted legal documents in support of the early release of Bobby Makaza, a former inmate convicted of r_ape.
Makaza’s release was granted under a recent presidential amnesty, which has faced criticism from rights defenders who argue that it allows r_apists to go free.
Makaza’s Conviction and Release
Bobby Makaza, 60, was sentenced to 16 years in Chikurubi Maximum Prison after being convicted of raping a 9-year-old minor in 2018. However, he was among thousands of convicts who were granted early release in May this year through a prison amnesty decreed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
After his release, Makaza’s celebratory remarks, chanting “Mnangagwa huchi (is sweet)” from a bus window, went viral on social media. This sparked public outrage, with many questioning the president’s decision to include child s_ex predators in the amnesty.
The minor’s parents, supported by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), filed an application at the Harare High Court seeking an arrest warrant for Makaza.
They argued that under section 12(d) as read with 13(c) of Clemency Order No.1 of 2023, Makaza, as a convict in a specified offense, should not have been included among the beneficiaries of the amnesty.
ZPCS Defends Makaza’s Release
In defense of Makaza’s release, the acting Commissioner-General of ZPCS, Shepherd Mpofu, argued that it was in accordance with Clemency Order Number 1 of 2023.
This order granted full remission of sentence to prisoners aged 60 and above, regardless of their offense, except for those sentenced to life imprisonment, death, or convicted of public violence. .
Mpofu suggested that the minor and her parents should undergo professional counseling to better understand the nature of the crime, conviction, sentence, and Makaza’s release.
The case is yet to be scheduled for a hearing at the Harare High Court.