First Lady, Auxilia Mnangagwa has officially opened a female open prison in Marondera, a move meant to prepare inmates’ future when they go back to the society.
Marondera Female Open Prison is the first female open prison in Zimbabwe as well as the SADC region and the project was necessitated by the First Lady through the Female Open Prison Foundation Trust in 2020.
Speaking at the launch in Marondera yesterday, the First Lady said the opening of Marondera Female Open Prison was an important project for Zimbabwe and Southern Africa at large as it will help female prisoners to rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their respective communities.
“Despite having wronged from respective communities you may agree with me that there is need to say another chance, to redefine criminal behavior and become law abiding citizens. In this regard we are here to fulfill the much anticipated opening of the first ever open prison not only in Zimbabwe but in the SADC region,” she said.
The First Lady also added that the existence of Connemara Open Prison In Kwekwe which she said was full of inmates who portrayed good behavior was a major boost which also facilitated her to construct Marondera Female Open Prison.
“Following the approval by the government in 1996 for Zimbabwe to adopt an open prison system, Connemara Open Prison was established with the first Inmate taking occupation in 2000, based on the success stories experienced at Connemara towards rehabilitation and reintegration as articulated by the event, considerations were done with late Major General Paradzai Zimondi to establish a similar institution for female inmates,” she added.
Furthermore, the founder of the Angel Of Hope Foundation also appreciated the government approval for the existence of Marondera Female Open Prison insisting that this was going to help women prisoners a lot when they go back to the community.
“l also give credit to the government of Zimbabwe for approving the establishment of the purposefully built female open prison, it is meant to meet the special needs of female inmates while saving as a vehicle for their empowerment to enhance their livelihood after prison,” added the first lady.
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hon Ziyambi Ziyambi also added that the existence of Marondera Female Open Prison was an idea which was pushed by First Lady in terms of funding and everything whilst admitting that he was not part of the project.
“First lady is the one who facilitated for the existence of this Marondera Open Prison structure, l didn’t do anything but it was Amai who did everything to ensure the existence of the Marondera Open Prison, “he said.
Hon Ziyambi Ziyambi appreciated the efforts that was done by First Lady to ensure that Marondera Female Open Prison becomes a reality.
“Right from the consumption of this project she was there at the front and what drove her was the passion for the realization of equality for female inmates in the Zimbabwean Prison System,” he added.
An open prison is an institution where an inmate enjoys a lot of privileges that are not offered from closed prisons. In an open prison inmates are allowed to wear clothes of his or her choice, cook his or her own food, host braai parties , assign their own duties and lastly security officers don’t follow them or inspect them on whatever they do. They also posses a privilege that they can move around wherever they want without the inspection of a security guard.
The First lady was accompanied by Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hon Ziyambi Ziyambi, Minister of State For Provincial Affairs Responsible for Mash East Province Hon Apollonia Munzverengwi, Deputy Minister of Youths, Sports, Arts and Culture Hon Tino Machakaire, Permanent Secretary For Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Virginia Mabhiza and Commissioner General of Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Moses Chihobvu.