Justice and Legal Affairs deputy minister Obert Gutu says he has launched a probe into circumstances surrounding the alleged forced transfer of nine prison officers based at Rusape Prison after they were found reading Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s official newsletter.
The incident allegedly occurred two months ago.
Gutu, who is also MDC-T senator for Chisipite, has since written to Commissioner of Prisons Paradzai Zimondi demanding clarification on the alleged illegal transfers.
The letter, dated January 16, was copied to Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jameson Timba and chief secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Ian Makone.
“It has been brought to my attention that nine senior prison officers based at Rusape Prison were recently placed on forced transfer as “punishment” for reading the Prime Ministers Newsletter in November 2011,” reads part of Gutu’s letter.
“I write this letter to your office seeking an explanation as to the truthfulness or lack of it, behind the allegation that the afore-mentioned prison officers were victimised merely because they were found reading the PMs official letter,” reads the letter.
Gutu said by yesterday, he had not received any response.
“Gone should be the days when the prison service is politicised and, or militarised. We want to mould a modern correctional facility in tandem with international best practice,” he said.
“I will do everything in my power to ensure that no prison officer is unfairly and unduly victimised simply because they were found reading the PMs Newsletter.
The PMs Newsletter is an official mouthpiece of the Prime Minister’s office and as such anyone and everyone is at liberty to read it,” Gutu said.
The nine officers were reportedly redeployed to Chipinge, Gwanda, Mazowe, Chikurubi, Bindura and Nyazura.