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Seventh Day Adventist lawyers condemn Mnangagwa for pardoning rapist prisoners

By Staff Writer

The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church in Zimbabwe has criticised President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s latest move of pardoning prisoners amid allegations that rapists unfairly benefitted from the decree.

A total 4 270 prisoners’ prisoners were pardoned and walked out of jail last week as is the norm each time the country is heading for polls.

However, videos of interviews conducted on the ex-convicts as they were leaving prison which went viral last week showed a number of jubilant rapists’ self -confessing that Mnangagwa had extended them a favour.

Some of the clips showed the ex-convicts demonstrating ignorance on what they were taught while serving time behind bars.

The release of rapists has irked several sections of the public, prompting many to criticise the move.

In that matrix, the SDA’s legal grouping, Adventist Lawyers Association (ALA) Friday added a voice criticising the latest actions.

“ALA has noted with great concern the release of sexual offenders through a general amnesty by the President of Zimbabwe that saw a coterie of in mates being released.

“Whilst we believe in the biblical imperative to forgive, we all believe that the society must be protected from those who violate the rights of young girls,” said the association.

The ALA said in the recent years there has been a spike in child marriages that has not been just concerning but alarming because of the slow rate at which the state seems to act on the perpetrators.

“The release of sexual offenders does not bode well with Constitutional imperatives as expressed in sections 19 and 81 to protect children and woman. Such release indirectly contradicts express terms of the instrument relied upon,” said ALA.

The lawyers’ group said while there has been reform in child marriage laws which is a welcome development, the release of sexual offenders on a very low bar of having served just a tenth of their sentences when other beneficiaries had to meet the high bar of at least a third is retrogressive to the fight of child marriages.

“ALA calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to reconsider its approach in protecting the girls’ child and woman in general,” the grouping added.  

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