MDC-T says prisons boss Paradzai Zimondi should resign immediately


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The Movement for Democratic Change- Tsvangirai faction has called for a commission of inquiry into the food riots at Chikurubi Maximum Prison and the immediate resignation of prisons boss Paradzai Zimondi arguing that any government that is unable to feed its prisoners is not fit to govern.

Though reports said three prisoners died during the riots, the MDC-T said unconfirmed reports put the figure at 10 inmates killed.

The MDC-T said Commissioner-General of Prisons, Paradzai Zimondi, should resign immediately because conditions in all the country’s 46 correctional facilities had steadily declined under his watch.

“Prison farms are terribly under-utilised and mismanaged and rampant corruption continues to afflict the entire administration of the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services,” the party said in statement today.

“In terms of a statutory instrument that was published in December 2011, all prisoners are entitled to a minimum diet that will ensure that they will not succumb to malnutrition and other diseases associated with poor nutrition such as pellagra,” it said.

“The unfortunate incident that took place at Chikurubi last Friday is clearly symptomatic of a failed state.  Any government that is unable to feed its prisoners is not fit to govern. Prisoners might have committed criminal offences, some of which are quite heinous, but they still have a Constitutional right not to be treated in a cruel and degrading manner. Denial of adequate food provisions to our prisoners is tantamount to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”

 

Full statement:

 

Monday, 16 March 2015

 Chikurubi maximum prison food riot should be fully investigated   

 

Friday, March 13, 2015 was a tragic day at the sprawling Chikurubi Maximum Security prison complex on the outskirts of Harare. More than 900 under-fed and hungry prison inmates staged a demonstration against the deteriorating food situation at the prison. It is a fact that prisoners at Chikurubi and indeed, at all of the country's 46 correctional facilities, are on the verge of starvation largely due to insufficient food supplies. Coupled with the lack of adequate food provisions is the other problem of crumbling infrastructure at the country's prisons, most of which are no longer fit for human habitation.

Chivhu Prison was built more than 70 years ago and it has since been condemned as unfit to house human beings. However, prisoners are still being kept at old, dilapidated and crumbling prison complexes such as those at Chivhu, Chinhoyi and Masvingo.

In terms of a statutory instrument that was published in December 2011, all prisoners are entitled to a minimum diet that will ensure that they will not succumb to malnutrition and other diseases associated with poor nutrition such as pellegra. The unfortunate incident that took place at Chikurubi last Friday is clearly symptomatic of a failed state. Any government that is unable to feed its prisoners is not fit to govern. Prisoners might have committed criminal offences, some of which are quite heinous, but they still have a Constitutional right not to be treated in a cruel and degrading manner. Denial of adequate food provisions to our prisoners is tantamount to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Unconfirmed reports point to a situation whereby at least 10 inmates were shot dead in cold blood at Chikurubi last Friday as they demonstrated against the perennial poor diet. Even the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services ( ZPCS) has confirmed that they are severely short of money with which to purchase adequate food provisions for the country's 19 000 prisoners. The Zanu PF regime has totally lost the plot. The regime continues to bury its head in the sand and pretend that everything in the country is fine and working. To the contrary, the whole State apparatus has virtually collapsed as the two antagonistic factions in the beleaguered political party, Zanu PF, continue to fight for power and control. The Gamatox and the Weevils factions are at each other's throat. Things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold.

The MDC calls for the immediate setting up of a Commission of Inquiry to look into conditions in the country's 46 correctional facilities in general and the Chikurubi Maximum Security prison complex food riot of Friday, March 13, 2015 in particular. The Commission of Inquiry must be headed by a judge of the High Court or the Supreme Court. The country is at the crossroads. We cannot fold our arms and pretend that everything is in order. At the same time, the MDC calls for the immediate resignation of the Commissioner – General of the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services ( ZPCS ),  Retired Major – General Paradzai Zimondi. Under this man's watch, the conditions at all the country's correctional facilities have steadily declined over the years . Prison farms are terribly under-utilised and mismanaged and rampant corruption continues to afflict the entire administration of the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services ( ZPCS ).

The MDC shall  continue to clamour for the respect of the Constitutional rights of all the people of Zimbabwe ; including the rights of all incarcerated people. All human beings should be treated with dignity whether they are in or out of prison.

MDC: Equal Opportunities for all

Obert Chaurura  Gutu

MDC National Spokesperson

(542 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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