Home » Governance » Govt Moves in to Calm Situation At Chikurubi

Government is compiling all the needs of prisoners at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison with the aim of addressing them following riots that broke out at the facility last Friday when the prisoners complained against poor diet.

The Government intervention came as two more prisoners died yesterday in hospital from injuries sustained when nearly 900 of the prisoners ran amok.

This brings the total number of prisoners that have died so far to five.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said in an interview yesterday that Government had moved in to restore normalcy at Chikurubi.

“I physically went to see the scene of crime and made certain observations and have updated my principal, who is the Minister (Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa),” she said.

“As the accounting officer, I was concerned more about things that need budgetary attention and I am in the process of compiling my budget and needs analysis which the ministry will forward to Treasury.

“Government is concerned with the restoration of normalcy by providing whatever should be provided to avoid such riots in the future. The Commissioner General and his team are conducting their investigations and we are also doing our part.”

Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services spokesperson Chief Superintendent Elizabeth Banda-Karinda yesterday confirmed the deaths of the two prisoners.

She said investigations to ascertain the motive behind the riots were still continuing.

“The death toll is now at five, following the deaths of two more prisoners,” she said. “Their names would be released after their next of kin have been informed.”

Chief Supt Banda-Karinda said the five bodies were still in a hospital mortuary awaiting post mortem.

She said a total of 20 prison officers and 23 inmates were injured during the riots, with one inmate Denis Aram dying as the riot unfolded, while two others, D Class prisoners Pedzisai Nota (40) and Tatitus Mandikonza (24) died in hospital on Saturday.

Nota was serving 27 years for committing a series of armed robberies, while Mandikonza would have seen many more days behind bars after his rape, armed robbery and unlawful entry convictions earned him a 45-year sentence.

The inmates torched blankets and damaged property in the melee that lasted for more than three hours.

Most of them sustained bruises and of the 20 officers injured, two were still receiving treatment, while four prisoners were still admitted in hospital.

The situation is now calm at the maximum security prison and security has been beefed up.

Hundreds of armed and unarmed Support Unit officers and other security agents were called in to control the situation.

Initial reports had indicated that five prisoners had disarmed guards and escaped, but these were not confirmed by the prison authorities.

Gunshots could be heard from outside as security agents moved in to contain the situation, with witnesses saying the prisoners climbed towers while shouting that they were prepared to die.

The inmates had been released to have their lunch when they protested over the type of relish they had been given — vegetables, which they did not like.

There are 4 663 prisoners at the maximum security prison, but of the two areas involved in the riots, one had 445 prisoners and the other had 443.

Since 2013, there had been reports that ZPCS had been failing to feed the estimated 17 000 inmates in the country’s 42 correctional facilities at the prescribed standard dietary scale.

Source : The Herald