HARARE – Barely three days after being convicted to a six-month jail term for theft, Gladys Mupfumi on Wednesday was set free and she still does not believe her good fortune.
On Monday, the 18 year-old from Rusape was found guilty of stealing property worth over $2 000 from her employer but on Africa Day she was set free.
Mupfumi said she felt very lucky because she was among the youngest female inmates at the time the presidential pardon was gazetted on May 23.
According to the Clemency Order, all female prisoners and juvenile offenders would be released, save for those serving life sentences.
Some of the females who are still behind bars are foreign nationals who are being held as prohibited immigrants who will be eventually handed over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.
The teenager told the Daily News that despite the fact that her employers were taking good care of her she ended up stealing.
“There was no reason for me to steal really. I just found myself taking my employer’s blankets, clothes and any other items that I could find. It was almost like I was possessed,” the former housemaid said.
Asked about her future plans, Mupfumi said when she returns to her home village in Rusape she will concentrate on tilling her parent’s plot while she resettles into society.
But the two days she spent in the gallows were unforgettable and she vowed never to see the inside of a prison again.
She said freedom should not be taken for granted as it can be taken away easily through small mistakes like the ones she made.
“The food is very bad. Since I was incarcerated I never ate meat. The diet of vegetables with no oil, and tea without sugar, is something you can never get accustomed to,” she said.
Zimbabwe Prisons and Corrections Services public relation officer Priscilla Mthembo said society should afford ex-convicts the same opportunities as non-offenders.
“Once outside we hope that they will use the life skills that they were taught while in prisons so that they stay away from crime,” she said.