Condemned cells inspection deferred again


The visit to Chikurubi Maximum Prison by regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire, prosecutor Michael Reza and lawyer Charles Warara to inspect the holding cells which are alleged to be unfit for human habitation, has yet again been postponed to May 16.

Prosecutor Reza submitted to the court yesterday that Trymore Paradzai, the witness who was Tuesday expected to lead or guide the court officials during the inspection of the cells, had been involved in an accident last Saturday and could therefore not avail himself for the tour.

Although the magistrate granted the application for the postponement, Warara accused the state of dragging its feet saying the state feared the consequences of the inspection, hence it had come up with another excuse.

Yesterday’s postponement of the tour was the fourth. Tempers flared when Warara said he was opposed to the postponement of the visit because he did not believe the state’s claims that Paradzai was involved in an accident.

“I am surprised by the tone of my colleague (Warara). I don’t see why the officer in charge at Chikurubi would lie to say the man (Paradzai) was involved in an accident,” Reza responded, insisting on the postponement of the prison inspection.

“He (Paradzai) has requested for two weeks considering his discomfort and (requires) time to recuperate.” The prison visit stems from an application by prisoners Albert Mugove Matapo and Lucky Mhungu through their lawyers Warara and Gift Nyandoro.

Nyandoro, who was representing Mhungu, has since renounced agency and Mhungu is yet to find another lawyer but he told the court yesterday he was prepared to proceed without representation.

Warara complained that the cells where Matapo was being kept were condemned by the Supreme Court but prison authorities continued using them to punish his client.

Matapo and Mhungu are in custody for alleged treason and armed robbery charges respectively and are jointly charged with Silas Sarezi Shonhiwa, Phillip Chivhurunge, Ruperts Chimanga and Bigknows Wairesi in another case where they allegedly attempted a jailbreak last year.

The pair made an application for referral of the case to the Supreme Court citing violation of their constitutional rights but prosecutor Reza opposed it.