Fifteen inmates at Banket, Mashonaland West province’s semi-open prison, have graduated in tobacco production, a move which will ensure that they are successfully re-integrated into the Zimbabwean society.
They joined 179 other inmates that have benefited from the program since its inception in 2008. The program was set up by the prison services in conjunction with the Tobacco Research Board.
Speaking at the 9th graduation ceremony, Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services deputy commissioner general, Moses Chihobvu, appealed to government to employ the set to be released soon
Turning to the 16 inmates, Chihobvu said they must prove the society wrong if Zimbabweans will continue calling them criminals.
Chihobvu said admission in prison doesn’t signify the end of the world but can be a way to identify one’s talent.
One of the prisoners, Monica Chirenje, said she is happy with the tobacco farming knowledge impacted to her. Chirenje said she is now ready to face the world.
An ex-convict, Mathias Mushambe, who was trained in tobacco production in 2013, said his tobacco farming knowledge spearheaded his acceptance in society.
The only setback is that the government is not in a position to employ workers due to lack of funds. Public Service Commission commissioner Ambassador Mary Margeret Muchada said as a result, it is unlikely that they will even be employing ex-convicts in the near future.
The 9th graduation ceremony was the first of its kind in Mashonaland West province.