Many people regard criminals who are locked up at the country’s prisons as social misfits and not even capable of being released with a positively changed life.
Once someone is locked in prison for some time, the society regards the person as a hard core criminal.
This is not the case with Friends of TB Joshua and Emmanuel TV in Bulawayo, who have put their heads together and contributed towards the rehabilitation of boreholes and donation of Bibles, light bulbs, TV sets, decoders and satellite dishes to Khami Maximum Prison in Bulawayo.
TB Joshua is the founder and leader of the Synagogue Church of Nations based in Lagos Nigeria also running the Emmanuel TV.
On August 5 this year they handed over the donation to the prison at a colourful ceremony that was attended by Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi and Prison Services deputy commissioner Rhodes Moyo, who received the donation on behalf of the prisoners and officials.
Speaking in an interview with NewsDay last week, leader of the TB Joshua Friends in Bulawayo, Ruth Labode, said her group was inspired by Prophet TB Joshua’s giving spirit to try and plough back into society for the restoration of hope and spiritual benefits of the inmates.
Labode said the group recently pooled resources together and managed to buy seven television sets, three decoders, four satellite dishes, 200 light bulbs, six Bibles and also restored the borehole which hadnot been functioning.
“We went to the prison for the switching on of the Emmanual TV and the commissioning of the resuscitated borehole. By switching on Emmanuel TV at the prison we want to inspire the prisoners through the activities of Synagogue Church of All Nations and Prophet TB Joshua. We know that when some people go to prison they think they are misfits and are no longer fit to come back into the society and lead normal lives,” said Labode.
She said Prophet Joshua always said there is no sin that God cannot forgive, no burden he cannot bear and no illness he cannot heal.
The prisoners were likely to come out of prison as changed people and useful to society even more than those who had not been to jail.
Prophet Joshua always said some people were released from prison to positions of presidency, as businessman and role models to society.
Speaking during the ceremony, Mohadi urged the inmates to utilise the TV sets donated to them for the blessing of their souls so they come out of the prison changed people.
“To be locked in here does not mean that we hate you. It is normal that when a child commits a crime he/she must be punished as a way of correcting him or her so that he or she does not repeat the offence. That is what we are doing to you. But still you can correct your selves and see to it that when you come out of this place you do not repeat the bad things that made you get in here,” said Mohadi.
When he asked them if they had enough food and were satisfied, the prisoners unanimously said no and he told them that prison was not a place of enjoyment because if they were feted, when released they would want to return to prison which was not right.
Deputy Prisons Commissioner Moyo thanked the Emmanuel TV friends for the gesture saying it was a good idea for them to think of the souls of people who the society thought were condemned as misfits.
“Before independence prisons were regarded as punishment centres by the colonial governments, but since we attained the independence our government changed them into correctional centres where people must come out rehabilitated and transformed. Inmates must come out of this place changed and better persons,” said Moyo.
The prisoners were also given time to air their concerns and thank the Emmanuel TV friends for the gesture.
A representative of the prisoners expressed gratitude over the donation. He also appealed for assistance to be given to inmates who had formed music groups.
“My fellow inmates are seeking help to have their music recorded,” he said.
Labode said they would continue supporting the prison. They had also sourced material for the resuscitation of another borehole at the prison and about 100 Bibles for the prisoners.
She also said one of the prisoners who was a music group leader at the correction centre was recently released and the Emmanuel TV friends were assisting him in training in cellphone repairs and other practical skills.
Labode said the group was determined to rehabilitate many former and current prisoners as long as they were allowed to do so.
“We are also working towards providing groceries for the prisons and old people’s homes and have already started assisting Entembeni Old People’s Home with food stuffs and other material donations.”
Labode said God loved everybody alike; what God hates is sin.