ALEX NJOVU, Lusaka
A 32-YEAR-OLD man who was jailed for five years after being found with a leopard skin about two years ago is happy to find his wife married to another man after leaving a correctional facility on Africa Freedom Day.
Joseph Mwansa, of Luangwa district, is among the 2,984 inmates pardoned by President Edgar Lungu last week as part of commemoration of this year’s Africa Freedom Day.
“I was praying day and night when I was in prison that my wife should find another man and get married. I am very happy that my prayer was answered,” Mr Mwansa said in an interview yesterday.
Mr Mwansa, who has two children with the now estranged wife, Rita Tembo, 31, is happy that he is starting a new life without her because the two used to fight a lot, sometimes even in public, to an extent that he never felt free in his marriage.
After being discharged from Mukuyu Farm Correctional Facility in Kabwe on Monday, Mr Mwansa contacted the man who has married Ms Tembo to find out about his children’s welfare and was told they are well.
“It is like a big log has been removed from my shoulder. I am not disappointed that I found her married because that was my wish. We used to have a lot of unnecessarily fights before I was jailed.
“Yes, she used to visit me when I was in prison [first year] and I appreciate it, but what is important to me is that she is out of my life. Our relationship was very bad,” Mr Mwansa said.
He is relocating from Luangwa to Chongwe district to avoid any contact with Ms Tembo.
Mr Mwansa, who was jailed together with his friend, Chaponda Mwale, for the same offence, commended President Lungu for pardoning him.
“Crime does not pay and I promise to be a good citizen. I committed the crime because of poverty. It is true that we killed a leopard because we wanted to sell its skin, but we were caught.
“I will never engage in poaching or any other crime. I have learnt a big lesson of my life.
Prison is not a good place. Thank you President Lungu for giving us our freedom back,” he said.
Mr Mwansa appealed to well-wishers to support him financially so that he can start business because he has nothing to lay his hands on to survive after being discharged from incarceration.
And Mr Chaponda, 40, who also hails from Luangwa, is happy that President Lungu has forgiven him.
“We have only been in prison for two years and six months. I am happy that I am a free person… I cannot wait to go and see my five children and my wife.
“Today (yesterday), we will sleep in Chongwe, then tomorrow (today), I will travel to Luangwa. I will never engage in poaching or any other illegal activity. All I need is support from people to help me re-establish myself… I have a wife and children to take care of,” he said.
ALEX NJOVU, Lusaka