Source: Prisoners enjoy rare quality family time | The Herald October 6, 2017
Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
INMATES at various prisons in Harare have welcomed the newly-introduced Family Week, which is designed to allow them more time with their visiting relatives and friends. Since Saturday last week, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has been allowing inmates to spend more time with their loved ones, including children.
Though the programme was expected to end today, it has since been extended to Sunday.
The main objectives of Family Week — which is running under the theme “Building a professional correctional system in Africa: A strategic objective” — is to help rehabilitate inmates through increased interaction with society.
It is usually held ahead of the International Prisons and Correctional Services Day commemorations to be held this month.
Yesterday, ZPCS Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi visited inmates at Chikurubi Maximum security Prison, Chikurubi Female Prison and Harare Central Remand Prison, where he also spared time to speak to them and their relatives.
Comm-Gen Zimondi, who was accompanied by senior prisons officers, took most of his time listening to the grievances of the inmates.
He promised to attend to their concerns.
Interestingly, he also met with jailed RMG Independent End Time Message church founder Robert Martin Gumbura, former Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke and former MDC-T councillor Tungamirai Madzokere.
Gumbura said, “This is a good initiative that the ZPCS has come up with because we are having a good chance to interact with our wives and families. I have seen God’s hand in this initiative since we are interacting with our families in a good atmosphere.”
He said ZPCS should introduce the initiative even on Christmas Day.
Gumbura said during the course of the week he had managed to address problems some of his wives were having at home.
His wives, who were in the company of their children, jokingly said: “We are enjoying the interaction, but Baba takuvada kumba nokuti musha usina baba hausi musha.”
Kereke said the initiative was allowing inmates time to bond with their families.
“You can’t even think that this is Chikurubi Maximum Prison,” he said. “It’s a family environment and I would like to thank you Comm-Gen Zimondi.
“My family has been visiting me and right now I just had a nicely roasted chicken.”
Madzokere, who was one of the three MDC-T officials who were jailed for 20 years for killing police Inspector Petros Mutedzi in Glen View, Harare, five years ago, revealed that he was planning to have a wedding in prison.
“When I was jailed in September, I already had plans to have a wedding, but failed to do so since I was incarcerated,” he said. “However, I have since made a proposal and submitted my documents to the authorities so that they will look into the issue.”
Comm-Gen Zimondi said they were considering the request.
Another prisoner, Laston Chirenda (103), who was last year jailed nine years for murder, said Family Week should be done on a yearly basis.
According to Comm-Gen Zimondi, heads of Corrections Services and Prisons who met in Zambia in 2008, launched what they called the Prisons Correctional Day, which is supposed to be commemorated every September in Africa.