Released unconditionally on Friday after languishing in Zimbabwe’s Beit Bridge Prison for three months, Malawian truck driver Elliot Kapokosa cannot wait to complete his last walk back home to freedom tomorrow.
“My jubilation is so deep. I cannot wait to just get home. Thank you that all your efforts have borne fruits. The case was withdrawn. I will talk more when I arrive on Monday,” the Lilongwe-based Almeida Transport employee said in a telephone interview from Zimbabwe yesterday.
On Friday, family representative Gibson Kapokosa confirmed in a letter to the Malawi Embassy in Zimbabwe Elliot’s release, saying: “He informed me that the case has been dismissed but Immigration has given him 72 hours to get out of Zimbabwe.”
Kapokosa’s release came after Malawi High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Jane Kambalame dispatched the mission’s labour and social welfare officer Arthur Ntandika to visit Elliot in prison and reason with the Zimbabwe authorities over the arrest of the driver for accidentally crushing to death one of his attackers while driving from South Africa on June 7 2013.
“I am happy that the matter has come to a positive conclusion. Again, thank you for understanding and be assured that we will always be of assistance should there be any need,” Kambalame wrote to the family on Friday.
Elliot, whose story was first published by The Nation, was arrested for culpable homicide. He was granted bail on July 28 2013, only to be instantly re-arrested for overstaying in Zimbabwe during the time he was in jail.
It has since transpired that Kapokosa could not be freed based on the bail granted because, according to Zimbabwe immigration law, if a foreigner has a case to answer, they are regarded as an illegal immigrant who cannot be set free. Only in exceptional cases is one granted temporary permit.
Elliot claimed to have stopped over around Beit Bridge when he was attacked. He said he wrestled with the attackers in the truck before he overpowered them and sped off, crushing one of them with rear tyres in the process.