Pardoned prisoners sing Mugabe praises

HARARE - Pardoned female prisoners at Chikurubi Maximum Prison yesterday showered praises on President Robert Mugabe as they walked out of prison, thanking him for the amnesty.

Female prisoners sang songs in praise of Mugabe and danced doing the butt wriggling dance.

“Gushungo, Gushungo, Gushungo,” was all that could be heard as the happy female inmates shouted Mugabe’s totem, raising clenched fists.

So happy were the prisoners that Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) national spokesperson Superintendent Elizabeth Banda had to rein them in.

EXCITED: Female inmates celebrate their impending release from prison. Pic: Ndakaziva Majaka

“Be happy that you are going out, but don’t be over excited,” she said.

“If you are not careful, some of you will find their way back here in no time. Out there things are tough. Think about how you will survive without breaking the law. Do not antagonise the people that you wronged or else you will be jailed again,” she counselled.

Female prisoners who spoke to the Daily News expressed joy that they were going home.

“I thank Gushungo for what he has done,” said an elated Zvakanaka Nziradzemhuka, 52.

“I was sentenced to 12 years in 2006 for stealing three cows. I have nine children and when I was in here some married and now I am a grandmother. My youngest child was seven years old when I came here and now she is 15. I have missed them so much, but am glad that my sentence has been cut short by four years. This means I will have time to catch up.”

Angeline Mutsimbika, 33, another prisoner said: “I was set to be released on April 16, 2023. I started serving on August 16, 2012. Do you realise what Gushungo has done?

I am grateful and I wish him a long life. I have two children and a husband and they don’t know that am coming home. I haven’t phoned anyone. I want to surprise them.”

Erinah Masina, who doesn’t know her age, said she was excited about going home.

“I was sentenced to three years for murder and today am set to leave without serving my whole sentence. This is great. I thank the Lord,” Masina said.

Catharine Nyawo, 19, who gave birth to a baby boy last Friday, said the release came at the appropriate time for her.

“I was set to leave this place in 2020 and my son would have been six years by then. To be born here and live here is not appropriate. I am grateful of what the president has done. Now my son will grow up in a proper environment, just like any other children,” Nyawo said.

But there were some who were crying as they watched colleagues depart.

“When is our turn to leave?” asked a female inmate on remand, as tears streamed down her cheeks.

At Chikurubi Farm Prison, it was the same story, with male prisoners excited that they are set to return home, earlier than they thought.

Mugabe pardoned 2 000 prisoners under Clemency Order Number 1 of 2014 and the amnesty was done under Section 112 (1) (a) of the constitution. The amnesty was also extended to male inmates, but not those on death row or serving life sentences.

Comments (9)

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Fireplace designs - 18 February 2014

thanks to the presidential powers on the prerogative of mercy

silent observer - 18 February 2014

here u behave or else u jump

costern musengi - 18 February 2014

Well done gushungo n thank u

s.gasa - 18 February 2014

Much as it would appear like Mugabe is magnanimous, the ex-prisoners should understand one thing that the jails were designed to accommodate a given number of inmates. This number has since been surpassed against the static space. Also the living conditions are congested and horrible hence death and disease are common place to say the least. Besides, the government cannot sustain the burden of feeding all those mouths due to lack of finances. It is even doubtful if the civil servants will be able to get their salaries (without the previously promised increments) on time.

tomasi ndofeni tohwi - 18 February 2014

In any country any president who wins an election is supposed to pardon some prisoners so this is not a Gushungo thing. Masupermarkets chenjerai vadzoka vanoisa ma 2 litre emafuta mumakumbo.

Maita Manyuka - 19 February 2014

I pity some women who will find their men married (living with other women). I guess its something they were expecting. I also heard that Tafadzwa (Macheso's second wife, was married to a man who was in prison. It would be interesting to know how things unfolded in the Macheso family if the jailed husband was also a beneficiary of the presidential pardon.

Tariro - 20 February 2014

In any book, this was a great move by the says justice also needs to be tempered with mercy and as they say the rest is up to the ex prisoners who have been given this chance to start all over..I suggest they make good use of it. It would be great if the real thieves who we have been reading about in the press take the place of these petty thieves and other offenders..this way the President will earn the gratitude of a sick nation..People cant watch in silence while thieves are destroying the national heritage in this fashion. Barclay, an old 19th century writer in his 'Mirror of Goodness' has this to say about selective justice, " The small thief is judged often times the great thief is the judge"..So jah, this is half the job, lets see real thieves locked up. I have in mind those parasitic vermin in our midst particlularly senior managers at our parastatals and fake as a three dollar patriots like Charamba and Tazzen Mandizvidza who have dared embarrass the president abusing his trust in this ugly brazen way..If they will not resign they should be kicked to the kerb..Are they not even ashamed for continuing to prance around the public stage offending us all with their stench?

gutter poet - 20 February 2014

One line in the above post should read..."fake as a three dollar note"...

gutter poet - 20 February 2014

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