Kereke singing the blues

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - De­sire Ncube

ABOUT 14 months ago, for­mer Bikita West leg­is­la­tor Mun­yaradzi Kereke was prob­a­bly con­fi­dent that he would not have to serve his en­tire 10-year jail sen­tence.

Kereke was sen­tenced 14 years im­pris­on­ment for rap­ing his 11-year-old niece at gun­point seven years ago.

Four years were set aside on con­di­tion he does not com­mit a sim­i­lar of­fence within the same pe­riod.

Ini­tially, the for­mer leg­is­la­tor seemed hope­ful that his ur­gent ap­peal against both con­vic­tion and sen­tence for rap­ing the un­der-age girl would bear fruit.

It might not be way off the mark to even sug­gest that the for­mer eco­nomic ad­vi­sor to for­mer Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe gover­nor Dr Gideon Gono ap­peared to think that his so­ci­etal sta­tus would work in his favour.

He says dur­ing his first days in prison, he saw free­dom at the prison gates. But days turned into weeks, months and then a year. Still the free­dom re­mains elu­sive and his mind­set has changed.

While lawyers are still con­test­ing the con­vic­tion and sen­tence, Kereke says he has found a new home in prison.

Like any­one else be­hind the walls, free­dom is what he prays for and yet prison is now his re­al­ity.

Speak­ing to The Sun­day Mail in an im­promptu in­ter­view at Chiku­rubi Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison last week, Kereke said he has ad­justed to his new home.

He said he now holds a to­tally dif­fer­ent view to life.

Spot­ting a long beard, clean shaven head and off-white prison garb, Kereke said: “I no longer ask why I am here, but I am tak­ing this op­por­tu­nity to learn new things daily. I am strong be­cause my con­science is free. Jeri hombe riri mup­fungwa (The great­est suf­fer­ing is in one’s mind).

“I used to be a self­ish per­son, but with what I am ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in here, my per­cep­tion to­wards peo­ple has changed.

“We treat each other as broth­ers and that is what we are sup­posed to do even when we are free out there.”

Kereke ad­mits prison life is not a bed of roses.

“Wa­ter is very lim­ited and if you do not own a bucket it is dif­fi­cult for you to get a bath. We share what we have as a fam­ily. A cell that should ac­com­mo­date 15 peo­ple may at times carry dou­ble that num­ber. There is also the is­sue of sick­ness among in­mates. But you have to face it, this is a prison and the con­di­tions are meant to be re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive.”

Asked why he con­tin­ues to main­tain a long beard in a place where most peo­ple pre­fer a shave ow­ing to hy­giene con­sid­er­a­tions, Kereke chuck­led and said: “There is free­dom of wor­ship here, we prac­tise our faith, that is why I main­tain my hair­style and beard.”

“JERI HOMBE RIRI MUP­FUNGWA”, says Mun­yaradzi Kereke, seen here fol­low­ing pro­ceed­ings dur­ing an event held at Chiku­rubi Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison re­cently

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.