THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services has established a motor cycle assembling plant at Khami workshop in Bulawayo in partnership with a company called Gellos Motors. This partnership, which falls under rehabilitation activities, has seen a number of inmates being afforded an opportunity to be trained to assemble motorbikes.
In an effort to have a full appreciation of how the plan is being implemented, B-Metro visited Khami workshops, where a crew had an opportunity to interview Admit Mbiriviri (29) who had a lot to say about his life behind the walls.
Mbiriviri said his coming to prison at first really affected him considering that he was only 24 years old when he was convicted on charges of rape, but with the counselling he got from the rehabilitation section he discovered that it was time for him to upgrade himself academically.
“When the magistrate who heard my case sentenced me to 15 years in prison at first I thought this was the end of my life considering that I was only 24 years old. By then I was working at a local company as a driver.
“Soon after being convicted with the gravity of my case I was moved to Khami Remand Prison, where I had an opportunity to meet other guys who urged me to utilise this opportunity to upgrade myself academically. So these guys referred me to the rehabilitation officers, who counselled me considering that I had lost hope and after four to five months they urged me to identify a course of my choice that I could undertake considering the length of my sentence,”he said.
Mbiriviri said from the courses that he was exposed to by the rehabilitation officers he chose motor mechanics as it was going to be useful to him considering that he was a driver with no mechanical background.
“While driving before I got convicted I used to have serious problems when one of my cars broke down so I realised that it was very important for every driver to have a mechanical background for such situations.
“So when I saw motor mechanics as part of the rehabilitation programmes on offer I told myself this was the right time to pursue this course with the support of Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service and my family,” he said.
The inmate said soon after choosing a course of his choice he was transferred to Khami workshop, where he was attached under the motor mechanics section for three years and during that time he was also doing his theory for the course in preparation for trade test.
“Soon after completing my industrial attachment I was taken for trade testing by the Industrial training department and I managed to get my journeyman class three and as we speak I am working towards my class two.
“The progress that I am doing has kept me so inspired despite the fact that I am under incarceration and I hope this course is going to help me in a big way as I am now able to open my own workshop and employ people who are looking for job opportunities out there,”he said.
Mbiriviri said the drive to be a journeyman class one motor mechanic had seen him being included in the team that is doing a motorcycle assembling course at Khami workshop.
“I am actually excited to be part of the team that is assembling motorbikes at Khami workshop because right now I am being taught how to assemble and fix motor bikes. Like they always say education is power as we speak we are being equipped with knowledge that you will never get for free out there.
“This project we are doing it with officers who are also on training and I really liked the idea that officers are also being equipped with that very same skill for future use and that is a source of inspiration to some of us,”he said.
“Before we started assembling these motorbikes we were taken into classes where we were taught the purpose of each and every component that we find on the motorbike.
“Soon after completing these lessons we were taken on a practical aspect as we were now assembling these motorbikes and it was an eye opening programme as we now have a full appreciation of what makes up a motorbike and what to do when it develops mechanical problems,”he said.
Mbiriviri said he likes the challenge that comes with fixing and assembling the bikes.
“I usually like tasks that are full of challenges. As we speak we got our second consignment of motor bikes but this time they are in total pieces and we are going to be assembling them from scratch. This is going to help us a lot when it comes to attainment of experience.
“I really would like to thank the management of prisons for offering us such an opportunity to build our careers through such programmes on offer at our stations,”he said.
Station rehabilitation officer Bellium Zimunhu said they had picked inmates and officers from stations within the complex so that they could benefit from such a noble idea that has been availed by the management.
“We are working with officers and inmates from stations that are within the complex and those selected some don’t have the qualification in mechanics but they only have interest and passion of the profession.
“So we hope this project is going to assist the beneficiaries and some will be able to start their own companies that specialise in motor cycle fixing and assembling,”he said.