INCARCERATED rapist Robert Martin Gumbura on Friday graduated with a Certificate in Peace Education.
Gumbura was awarded the certificate in absentia since he was attending a routine court appearance on fresh charges that arose during his incarceration.
He was among other convicts, who graduated at Chikurubi Maximum Prison on Friday.
In his speech, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service Deputy Commissioner General Social Ndanga said incarceration was not a barrier for one to achieve their goals.
“Today’s graduation comprised 18 inmates and two officers who commenced their training lessons in February when the programme was launched,” said DCG Ndanga.
“Among the graduands are prisoners under death sentence and this is a clear testimony that being behind bars is not the end of the world hence I encourage other inmates to follow suit and take advantage of such opportunities.
“The decision to start with Chikurubi Maximum Prison was reached upon realisation of the nature of inmates that are kept here and also it was noted that indoor rehabilitation activities are minimal.
“The Peace Education Program (PEP) was also introduced at Ntabazinduna Training School during the same month targeting recruited correctional officers who are undergoing training with the view of equipping them with the requisite skills in the reformation and transformation drive.
“We have adopted PEP as a psychosocial support, moral rehabilitation and behavioural change programme, which facilitates change through supporting inmates to understand personal peace and become aware of inner resources essential for behavioural transformation.
“The Peace Education Program is highly regarded as a self-discovery and empowerment vehicle that can be undertaken by every human being and helps individuals to navigate the different life situations.
“The program is offered as a psychosocial support, moral regeneration and violence reduction initiative.
“The idea behind introducing this program was to buttress our correctional efforts with the intention of aiding both inmates and staff equally to live as vigilant and holistically transformed human beings in this ever-changing global village,” said DCG Ndanga.
He said the program instantly produced positive results, especially on the group of inmates regarded as dangerous by society, but had the courage to embark on a journey of self-discovery.
“It is common knowledge that most people, when given the highest sentence in the land, lose hope on everything, but they have shown the world that despite that, you can still make it in life just like those outside prisons.
“This will definitely motivate others to have a better understanding as well as a positive mind towards life.
“The successes of the Peace Education Programme so far is a great milestone towards our efforts to have a robust reformative and transformative agenda.
“Its implementation is meant to bolster the notion of rehabilitation, while cultivating and nurturing a culture of harmony and good individual relationships within members of staff and among inmates,” said DCG Ndanga.