Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Chikurubi Food Riot – Prison Services Disregards Court Order

CHIKURUBI Maximum prison inmates facing allegations of a masterminding food riot and attempting to breakout have not been using toilet tissue and bath soap for close to a month, a court heard Friday.

The prison service has, according to lawyers, told them to get the sanitary materials from their relatives.

On the 11th of May this year, Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe ordered that eight inmates be granted sanitary materials, regardless of the fact that they were facing serious charges.

But the order has been disregarded Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyer David Hofisi, who is representing them said during a routine remand hearing Friday.

“My clients have serious concerns with regards to toiletries,” said the attorney.

“After we were given the court the prisons officer in charge addressed the accused and told them that if they needed these materials their relatives should buy them.

“It is also not clear what happened to their belongings following the riot and we demand an answer on this.”

Prosecutor, Sebastin Mutizirwa, could not give the state’s position on the complaint, referring the matter to colleague Michael Reza who has been presiding over the case.

“I can neither deny nor confirm these allegations as my brother prosecutor, Michael Reza has been running the affairs of this matter,” he said.

Reza was however, not readily available to explain.

The prisoners have been transferred to a special cell where they stay in total darkness.

On their last appearance, Reza said the prosecution had nothing to do with the treatment of the prisoners.

He said it was improper for a public prosecutor to tell the prison commissioner how to run his department.

The convicts, who include Robert Martin Gumbura, 59, who is serving 30 years Blessing Chiduke, 25, Luckmore Matambanadzo, 39, Luck Mhungu, 38, Taurai Dodzo, 47, Thomas Chacha, 37, Thulani Chizema, 32, Jacob Sibanda, 28, and Elijah Vhumbunu, 38, are being charged with attempt to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances in relation to malicious damage to property and incitement to assault or resist a peace officer.

Gumbura is however, not being represented in this case after his lawyer, Tapson Dzvetero, argued that the allegations did not disclose an offence at law.

The magistrate is yet to his ruling on the application for referral of the case to the Constitutional Court application which has since been filed on 5 June.

The convicts initially made an application against remand saying they were being denied health care, food, and spent the whole day stark naked but it was turned down.

Source : New Zimbabwe