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Friday, July 12, 2024

Prisoners benefit from Presidential Amnesty

Story by Providence Maraneli

Prisoners who have been released under the Presidential Amnesty say they have learnt their lesson and will lead different lives after acquiring life skills during their incarceration.   

It is late in the afternoon at Gwanda prison, a day when pardoned prisoners are being released after a presidential amnesty.

As the big iron gate opens, the rush to leave and wide grins on the faces of many explain how they feel.

As Dickson Mpofu appears at the gate, there are screams of joy as his niece sprints towards him, a sign that love knows no bounds.

“I am so excited that I have been released. I am so grateful to the government. I am now a changed person. I wish to apologise to those I wronged. The prison has transformed me, they were not punishing but rehabilitating me,” said Mpofu.

His niece weighed in, “I can’t explain how I feel, we had missed him so much. We are so grateful that he has been released. We thank the President.”

For other beneficiaries of the Presidential pardon, the day will always be engraved in their hearts.

“I am so excited, the skills that I got here will help me live a crime-free life, I got here because of fraud but now I have skills which I can use to live,” said an amnesty beneficiary.

“I now have agriculture skills which I am going to use,” said another beneficiary.

Another beneficiary said, “We were going to church every day and now I am a changed person. I wish that society will accept us.”

The amnesty has been welcomed as a relief to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service as it will reduce the number of inmates.

“We are grateful to the President, our message to the society is that they should accept these inmates because they are now reformed and they have been equipped with various skills that will help them live a decent life,” noted ZPCS Gwanda Prison Officer in Charge, Superintendent Ishmael Madzimbamuto.

“Some were into building, others into motor mechanics, and some into agriculture”, he added.

A total of 131 inmates including two women will be released from prisons in Matabeleland South.

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