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Death row prisoner tastes freedom after 26 years




A death row prisoner who was freed by President Mugabe after 26 years says his greatest wish now is to start a family.

Edmos Hadebe, then a 25-year-old young soldier was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging in 1990. Edmos had, on the day that changed his life, gone for a beer drink in Makokoba, Bulawayo, with two friends who were also employed in the army. A brawl ensued and the trio assaulted a fellow imbiber who later died. They were arrested and after trial the trio was found guilty and placed on death row.

Sunday News last week caught up with Edmos (now 51) at his sister’s house in Pumula where he recounted his life in jail, the changes that the country has gone through and how he was trying to adjust to life after jail.

“I was a young man in the army and that day we had an argument with the deceased and I found myself committing the heinous crime, it could have been avoided but peer pressure got me to where I was these past years. As people who were in the army kwakulokuzitshela (we were proud) and we ended up finding ourselves in serious trouble,” he said.



“After sentencing I realised the gravity of what I had done and I decided to turn to the Lord for salvation. I had all the time to read and learn about the Bible and I gave my life to Christ while in prison through the help of Praise and Worship Church. I became a pastor while in prison

Each day I was in prison I took time to exercise under the supervision of wardens, greatest of all is that I accepted my situation, I made each day count and I survived. I had to adjust my life to suit prison conditions and the food and I came out fit and alive,” he said.

“I left for prison as a single man, and I still am. I have no children too but now that I am released I also want to start a family and have children. As a pastor our church requires that a pastor be married and one day I will do that.”

He recognises that finding formal employment might be a challenge because of his criminal record so intends to start his own farming project. “I want to start a piggery project in my rural home Kezi.”

Edmos’ sister Thokozile, who welcomed him from prison, said she was still to come to terms with his release as she thought he was going to die in prison.

“I cannot believe that he is finally out. As a man who had been sentenced to death, I assumed we will never see him free again but through God’s grace he is out and staying with me. I want to treasure each moment I have with him because he was arrested when I was still a child, now I am 35 years old,” she said.

She said Edmos will visit Kezi to meet the rest of the clan and they are hoping to have a big ceremony to celebrate his release. Usually when inmates are released from prison, they face stigma and discrimination but as for Edmos he said he was not particularly worried as he said he was now a reformed man.

“I actually feel my life story will change the lives of many people


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