BOSTWANA and Zimbabwe are set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will see prisoner exchanges between the countries.
Zimbabweans serving jail time in Botswana will be able to complete their sentences back in their home country, in exchange for Batswana nationals who will be deported back to Botswana to complete their sentences there. .
According to Zimbabwe prisons and correctional services commissioner, Gen Moses Chihobvu, there were an estimated 400 Zimbabweans in Botswana jails.
“I think we have less than 10 Batswana who are in prison in Zimbabwe,” said Chihobvu.
Dinah Marathe, commissioner of the Botswana prison service, visited Zimbabwe with a delegation to meet its correctional services authorities.
Addressing journalists during the tour on Saturday, Marathe said signing of the MOU will allow the two countries to work together on various issues.
“We are going to complete the signing of the MOU by June. It allows our two republics to work together. It will also allow our own citizens who are incarcerated in Zimbabwe prisons to serve their sentences back home and Zimbabweans who are serving in Botswana to finish their sentences here in Zimbabwe, so that they are closer to their relatives who can help them when they reintegrate into society.”
In 2020, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi pardoned 15 Zimbabwean prisoners amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zimbabwe’s prisons are severely overcrowded. Last year, the country declared an amnesty for prisoners who had served at least a third of their sentences as a way to ease overcrowding.