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Mugabe empties prisons amid cash crunch



Mugabe set for probe over missing $15bn diamond revenue

Zimbabwe’s Preisdent Robert Mugabe has literarily emptied the country’s prison as he has set free all female prisoners, except those of death row, or serving life sentence.

This is coming on the heels of difficulties by government to cater for the feeding of the prisoners, due to a cash crunch.

Male prisoners under the age of 18 were also pardoned regardless of the crimes committed, while those over 60 who have served two-thirds of their terms and inmates in open prison will be released, government said in a statement on Thursday.

Read also: 77 people arrested across France as protesters clash with police

Adult males convicted of rape, armed robbery, or murder will not be released, according to the proclamation, while
terminally ill patients unlikely to survive prison life will also gain their freedom.

The southern African nation’s prison population is 19,900 against a holding capacity of 17,000 and the country has an estimated 2,000 female inmates.

The country has been grinding under harsh conditions with government salaries consuming at least 83 per cent of revenue, according to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, while both government and the private sector battle to meet monthly wage bills.

Exports have collapsed because of a failed land-reform program, leading to widespread shortages of cash in a nation that abandoned its own currency in favour of the U.S. dollar and other international currencies in 2009.

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