Rights lawyers challenge rapist’s release

Murewa rape convict Bhobhi Makaza

THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has challenged the release of a Murewa rape 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 raping 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, Douglas 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  benefitting from  the amnesty.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s amnesty triggered an uproar among rights activists who protested over the release of several other rapists, besides Makaza.

No comment could be obtained from the ZPCS.

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