Sikhumbuzo Moyo – [email protected]
NINE foreign nationals from five African countries who were beneficiaries of last week’s Presidential Amnesty that saw over 4 000 inmates being set free are still incarcerated awaiting transportation to border-lying prisons where they will then be deported home.
They were detained at Khami Maximum Prison after they were nabbed and sentenced for various crimes ranging from possession of ivory, firearms and drugs.
They were given sentences ranging from two and 23 years by Hwange, Plumtree, Gweru, Chiredzi, Gweru magistrates’ courts while one was sentenced by the Bulawayo regional magistrate’s court.
Two of the inmates, Edwin Masaka and Mwinanenwa Kwapeyeza are from Zambia, Rojene Matsieza, Moses Gonzo and Thokozani Zulu are from South Africa, Baleseng Tshauwe and Ishmael Moloi are Botswana nationals while Onioha Desmond Onyi and Isheanesu Chikochi are from Nigeria and Mozambique respectively.
Masaka was slapped with a nine-year jail sentence by a Hwange magistrate last year after he was arrested for possession of ivory and a firearm without a licence.
His countryman Kwapeyeza, was also slapped with a similar jail sentence by a Chiredzi magistrate on September 19, 2022, for unlawful hunting and entering the country by evasion.
Tshauwe and Moloi were both serving two years and six months following their sentencing by a Hwange magistrate in December last year under Immigration Act and possession of dangerous weapons respectively.
On December 23 last year, Nigerian, Onyi got an eight-year sentence from a Hwange magistrate for unlawful dealing in dangerous drugs and at the Bulawayo Regional courts, a magistrate on March 14, 2016, sentenced Zulu to 23 years for his arrest in 2015 for armed robbery, attempted murder and unlawful entry.
The Chiredzi magistrates court sentenced Chikochi to nine years in May last year for theft and failure to report a crime and on September 11, 2019, a Plumtree magistrate slapped Matsieza with a 12-year sentence for theft, the same custodial sentence handed to his fellow countryman Gonzo by a Gweru magistrate for indecent assault and aggravated indecent assault.
Following the gazetting of Clemency Order No. 1 of 2023 on May 12, where upon the President in terms of section 112 (1) (a) and (d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe exercised his prerogative of mercy to release some offenders from prison, 4 270 inmates benefitted from the pardon.
Officer Commanding Bulawayo Prisons, Commissioner Mkhulunyelwa Ngwenya said the immigration department requested that the nine foreigners be transferred to prisons close to their countries, adding that they will be transported to the border-lying prisons as and when transport becomes available.
“Immigration has requested us to transfer them to prisons close to their countries for example those going to South Africa will be transferred to Beitbridge on the next available transport,” said Comm Ngwenya.
He said, unlike local inmates, foreigners have to go through the necessary immigration checks as some of them have expired travel documents while others may have entered the country illegally.
A total of 670 male inmates from Khami Maximum Prison and nine females from Mlondolozi Prison were set free under the amnesty.
Those released included businessman Danis David Konson who was arrested and sentenced to death in 2014 for fatally shooting his girlfriend Siphathisiwe Ncube three times after she had dumped him.
He was initially sent to the gallows by the now retired Judge, Justice Lawrence Kamocha, but, Konson challenged the verdict at the Constitutional Court which overturned the judgement, commuting it to 25 years. The Second Republic under President Mnangagwa has been exercising mercy to the inmates. —@skhumoyo2000