Tendai Rupapa–Senior Reporter
FIRST LADY Auxillia Mnangagwa, through her Angel of Hope Foundation and partners, is building a state-of-the-art clinic and computer lab in the new Marondera Women’s Open Prison to meet the needs of female prisoners and the nearby community.
When completed, the clinic will have a maternity ward and a section where other patients can be admitted for observation and treatment.
The women’s prison, which is the first facility of its kind in southern Africa, was built with the participation of the First Lady, who is the patron of its board.
The First Lady is a person on the ground and a woman of her word. When she officially opened the open prison for women, she promised to help the institution with what she needed and she does.
Already, 30 prisoners and 16 prison officers have graduated from life-changing short courses through a partnership between the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) and the Angel of Hope Foundation.
Within the framework of the open prison system, the emphasis is on rehabilitation, counseling and reintegration.
Prisoners who benefit from the open prison system are selected by a well-constituted selection committee and are granted additional privileges not enjoyed by those in closed prisons, such as freedom of movement, late closing, television viewing, access to telephones, less surveillance during work and they are also allowed to visit their families if they request it and if permission is granted.
Open prisons provide inmates with access to vocational training programs that offer and equip inmates with different skills to help them after their release. They also have the possibility of taking courses in colleges located near the open-air prison.
Work on the clinic is progressing well and the First Lady visited the facility this week.
Commissioner General of Prisons Moses Chihobvu showered the First Lady with praise for her vision.
“I would like to thank First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa for bringing this noble initiative to the Open Prison for Women. This project is his idea.
“We would like to thank her very much for giving us this support as ZPCS. This clinic will definitely give us the opportunity to ensure that our inmates are well taken care of in terms of health,” he said.
Chief Corrections Officer Jubilee Madenga, who is the officer in charge of the Marondera Open Women’s Prison, also expressed her gratitude and said the new clinic would eliminate the need to take inmates to the General Hospital in Marondera. Marondera for treatment.
“We wholeheartedly thank the First Lady for bringing a clinic to our doorstep. We had a challenge each time our inmates got sick.
“The women we have here are of childbearing age, so this clinic will greatly help them meet their maternity needs. There are also beds where they will be admitted if they have difficulties. I warmly thank the First Lady for this initiative.
“We used to take our sick detainees to Marondera hospital, but now we take care of everything here and that helps in that we won’t have to travel anymore. There will be a doctor’s room for consultations,” she said.
Dr. Vakai Nyabikwa, ZPCS Medical Officer for Mashonaland East Province, hoped the clinic would be of immense benefit to the inmates and the community.
“This clinic will help our women who will be in our prisons and also help the community. It has a maternity ward where the sick will be admitted for observation and treatment,” he said.
A representative of the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz), which has partnered with the First Lady to provide internet connectivity and a computer lab, Mr. Kennedy Dewera, director responsible for the universal services fund, said that the authority enjoyed a good working relationship with Angel of the Hope Foundation.
He said Potraz had an e-government program under which it facilitated service delivery.
Mr. Dewera represented the managing director of Potraz, Mr. Gift Machengete.
“We are going to provide a structure where we will have a vocational training center and equip a computer laboratory. There are other facilities that will be there that have already been planned by this institution.
“So they will be subsumed in there. This area has no internet connection and this is another area that we are working on with Potraz together with our operators,” he said.
As a precursor to the program, Potraz brought laptop computers and a general-purpose printer to the prison to support the First Lady’s vision of improving access to technology.
The gadgets were handed over to ZPCS by the First Lady.
Amai Mnangagwa expressed her gratitude to Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, Potraz and other stakeholders for working closely with her.
“I thank the management of Potraz, the commissioner general of ZPCS and his team because as you know this is the first establishment of this type in Sadc for women and everyone is watching what is happening and he can copy us.
“When we get such support, we see that even our image as Zimbabwe stays high as people copy the good we do. I am grateful for the unity and the collective work we do as a family to make move our country forward,” she said.
The inmates of the establishment were delighted with the breath of fresh air brought by an open-air prison and the initiatives carried out by the mother of the nation in their favor.