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Robber fingers Mugabe


A prisoner serving an armed robbery sentence stunned a delegation touring Chikurubi Maximum Prison when he openly accused President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF of being responsible for his incarceration after he was forced into robbery when his employer, a white commercial farmer was forcibly evicted from his farm in 2002.
The prisoner Edmore Mapinje told a delegation led by Justice and Legal Affairs deputy minister Obert Gutu that Zanu PF and President Mugabe forced him to engage in armed robbery for survival after he lost his job as a farm worker during the land invasions.
An emotional Mapinje also said mismanagement by President Mugabe’s government also led to the deterioration of standards at the country’s prisons, especially at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
“There were mass graves here in 2008 but we did not see government doing anything about it. Why are they denying us food from outside, if government cannot provide us with food?”
“It’s because of Zanu PF that we’re in here (prison) and it is because of President Mugabe’s government. They drove my boss out of his farm, leaving me destitute as well but now they neglect us,” he said. “We are eating sadza and maize on the cob here because they have nothing to give us.”
Prisoners poured out grievance after grievance out as they complained about the state of life behind bars.
Gutu was in Chikurubi to get a first-hand experience on prisoners’ living conditions.
Many prisoners told Gutu that they had contracted diseases due to, among other things, a shortage of medicines and specialist attention.
Other inmates at the prison have become blind due to malnutrition.
Munyaradzi Shavi said he turned blind because of lack of proper nutrition at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
“I can not get proper medication because prison officers claim there is no fuel to take me to a specialist doctor,” Shavi said.
Reports of tuberculosis are said to be on the increase among inmates but there are no X-ray machines to conduct further checks.
Barnabas Majarira who was convicted of armed robbery and is serving a 16-year jail term said there was no medicine and health personnel to attend to special cases affecting fellow inmates.
It was also revealed during the tour that several inmates were diagnosed with either HIV or Aids and tuberculosis but were awaiting death as the prison has no fuel to take them to hospital.
“Most of us here are HIV positive and we are waiting for our death. We are not equally represented in areas of authority to air our concerns.
“As prisoners, our plight is not considered and as you can see, it’s winter but we have no jerseys. We fear most of us will die of pneumonia,” Majarira said.

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