Political prisoners in overcrowded Zimbabwe jails to be released

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Petty criminals currently in Zimbabwean overcrowded jails would be set free to pave way for hundreds of anticipated political prisoners. Justice ministry has already made proposals for government to grant amnesty to certain categories of prisoners in order to create space for anticipated political violence convicts.

More than 90 percent of people that have been arrested in connection with political violence are opposition Movement for Democratic Change party officials, activists, members and ordinary and perceived supporters.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who lost to an MDC parliamentary candidate in the March election, has become the most vocal architect of Mugabe’s presidential election run-off campaign.

Not all political prisoners

He this week also issued an order to judges and magistrates not to grant bail to all political violence suspects. “We are proposing amnesty in order to create space for those convicted of political violence. We recognize that incidents of political violence are on the increase and we want to take measures to stamp them out,” Chinamasa said.

The MDC and all human rights groups in the country have said Zanu PF was to blame for most of the political violence that has rocked Zimbabwe since the announcement of the March 29 harmonised elections.

Human Rights Watch produced an extensively researched report on Monday which blames government for most of the political violence and says the violence and intimidation had “extinguished any chance of a free and fair” presidential poll run-off.

The 69-page report “Bullets for Each of You” gives a heart-rending chronicle of politically motivated murders and assaults of MDC members. The organization confirms at least 36 horrible deaths and over 2 000 victims of state-sponsored political violence.

State security agents, war veterans and Zanu PF militias are directly blamed for the horror that has swept the country for the past three months.

“If current conditions are maintained, there is no possibility of a credible, free and fair poll. Since the runoff was announced the violence in Zimbabwe has gotten even worse,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Zimbabweans can’t vote freely if they fear their vote may get them killed

Human Rights Watch names Assistant Police Commissioner of the Presidential Guard Martin Kwainona, a senior Air Force officer, Bramwell Kachairo, retired army major Cairo Mhandu as among senior state security officers that have been directly involved in political violence.

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