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A HARARE magistrate’s court this week heard that HIV-positive convicts at the country’s maximum security prison are being supplied with expired drugs while prison officers also brag about sleeping their wives.
This was revealed by Martin Gumbura’s co-accused in the attempted Chikurubi prison break case.
In his defence outline, Blessing Chiduke said the situation at Chikurubi was dire as they were being supplied with sadza and a mixture of “expired Royco” soup and water.
Chiduke said prison wardens often emotionally tortured prisoners, telling them harrowing stories of how they would visit their wives and sleep with them.
Contrary to the State’s allegations that Gumbura provoked the violence, Chiduke said one prison officer triggered the commotion after telling inmates that officers were having sex with their wives.
Gumbura and Chiduke and seven others are facing charges of attempting to escape from lawful custody, malicious damage to property and assaulting law officers.
“The food crisis at Chikurubi worsened early this year. Water became a scarce commodity and we didn’t even have drinking water. Prisons supplied expired drugs to inmates living with HIV.
“Many inmates succumbed to the disease and so we raised a complaint but were punished for trying to express ourselves. Some of the inmates were beaten and sustained lifetime scars.
“The war between inmates and officers started after one officer manning C Cell told inmates that they (prison officers) were having quality time with their wives,” Chiduke said.
According to Chiduke, inmates requested to meet the justice minster or parliamentarians but their efforts were blocked by prison wardens.
The war between officers and inmates carried on for weeks until a senior officer was summoned to address them.
The court heard that the officer supported the inmates’ protest and promised to work on their issues but this never materialised.
Inmates were again punished for communicating their grievances to senior officers and were locked in cells for four days with no water to flush toilets while being served sadza and spinach leaves.
Chiduke said on the day in question, 13 March this year, inmates from B and C wards were being addressed when they heard noise and gunshots coming from D ward. source-newzimbabwe