THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has challenged the release of a Murewa rɑpǝ convict who was pardoned through a Presidential amnesty.
Bhobhi Makaza (60) was released from jail in May this year after serving four years of his 16-year jail term for rɑping his then 11-year-old niece in 2018.
A video of Makaza describing Mnangagwa as honey to express his excitement for being released went viral on social media soon after he left jail.
ZLHR lawyers Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paidamoyo Saurombe have written to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) demanding an explanation on the basis under which Makaza was released from prison.
In a letter dated July 5, 2023 addressed to ZPCS Commissioner General, Moses Chihobvu, and copied to Justice minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, the lawyers argue that rape was a specified offence.
They said Makaza was not supposed to benefit from the parole.
“We are instructed by our client to request from your good offices the basis on which the aforementioned Bobby Makaza qualified for amnesty and subsequent release from prison in terms of the clemency order Number 1 of 2023,” the lawyers said.
“In our considered view, in terms of section 12(d) as read with 13(c)of the Clemency order1 of 2023, Bobby Makaza being an inmate convicted of rape which is a specified offence was excluded from benefiting from the amnesty.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s amnesty triggered an uproar among rights activists who protested over the release of several other rɑpists, besides Makaza.
No comment could be obtained from the ZPCS.