Emotional scenes as Bulawayo man released from prison after 22 years


President Emmerson Mnangagwa has finally freed one Joram Siwela, a former Chaplin High School student and professional football player, who was jailed for murder 22 years ago.

Siwela is part of the lot that tasted freedom on Tuesday after Mnangagwa used the Presidential emergency powers to decongest prisons.

Siwela story tells that he killed his friend after he got into a fight over a girl, resulting in him brutally stabbing and killing his schoolmate.

In 2019, he told journalists that almost every night for the past 21 years, he has had to be woken up by his cellmates who say he throws punches, screams, and argues with unseen forces in his sleep.

“When my father visited me sometime in 1999, I tried to raise the issue with him but he said you are still too young, you will not understand this. I had just turned 20 then,” Siwela said.

Reporters also said according to Siwela’s father Sahluko, that door has since been  closed. This is because another tragedy hit the family of Siwela’s victim a few months after his incarceration.

“Barely three months after Joram’s incident, a lot happened in the victim’s family, thereby complicating everything. The victim’s father and sibling were also murdered. Another uncle, whom they lived with, vanished without a trace. Since then, we have failed to locate any other relatives. “I feel that knowing all this will be too much of a burden for Joram, which is why I have never been able to tell him,” said Sahluko.

The Chronicle interviewed Siwela last year who said he still has fresh memories of his last court session

“It was a Wednesday afternoon. I felt dizzy and asked the judge to allow me to sit down as my sentence was being read. I feared a death penalty.I was sweating profusely, my knees shaking and as they announced my sentence, I felt the world crumbling around me.”

Today, ZBC posted a picture of the man uniting with his family…ready to find his feet in a world that has evolved from the one he knew when the gates of freedom were shut on his face 22 years ago.

Source – Byo24