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Amnesty for rape convicts – arrogance or ignorance on the part of those that lead?

The question that concerns most Zimbabweans about this matter of the release of convicted rapists under the amnesty provision is moral, legalistic, and political.

Hiding behind the law – but whose law?

In terms of the law, it needs to be made clear to the citizens whether the subsidiary law that has been used by the President to provide this amnesty is not acting ultra vires the country’s supreme law. It could be so but this needs to be interrogated further.

The Government of Zimbabwe has a duty to protect its citizens that is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. This means the Government must take active steps to ensure that its citizens, especially the most vulnerable are protected.

The Government also has a duty to respect its citizens rights to human rights. This means that the Government must desist from taking actions that endanger the enjoyment of the rights of its citizens.

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What message is the Government sending when it releases such people into communities without conducting public consultations on such a critical public policy issue? Is it arrogance or ignorance on their part?

The Government must be taken to task and be able to explain the following:

  • How will they monitor such past offenders when released back into the communities?
  • Have there been reorientation trainings for the offenders?
  • Is the public policing system strong enough to protect citizens etc.?

It is not enough for the Government to say that this move is ensconced in the law especially if the said law is an obnoxious subsidiary piece of legislation that is or potentially offensive to the Constitution.

Those who can review or appeal this move can do so and enlighten us.

Beyond politics and power, leaders need a conscience

On moral grounds, the amnesty could be deemed insensitive to the victims and survivors of the violent and callous crime of rape and sexual abuse by men on women and young girls no matter the age of the male perpetrator.

It cannot be enough for anyone to justify sending such criminals home because of their age. At the age of sixty, most of the men are still very capable of recommitting the same offences especially when they are left with vulnerable people such as young girls, disabled women, and even young males.

Public policy is what a government chooses to do – in this case releasing convicted rapists

Politically, the Government could have been more sensitive and consulted further before giving such an amnesty. This move could have been an own goal for the government when it comes to the protection of women’s rights.

Elections are around the corner – with the way the released offenders seem to be so excitable and excited about being released from prison, does this does not send the wrong message that the Government is letting them out at a time when the country could be dealing with a rather sensitive national process that questions other critical issues such as national security.

If the Government is concerned about superfluous public policy issues linked to prions and correctional services management for example overcrowded prisons, lack of resources to manage prisons and prisoners then they could have selected other types of offenders who are not those who have committed crimes of a sexual nature.

Anyway, the verdict is out – Zimbabwe is a land of milk and honey – and even the son of man is HUCHI!

Those who can enlighten us – please do!