THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is failing to renovate its holding cells at Harare Central Police Station as directed by the Supreme Court reportedly due to financial challenges, it has emerged.
The court directive came in June following an application by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) challenging the inhuman conditions suspects were being subjected to at the police station.
Zimbabwe Association of Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO) chairperson Edison Chiota told NewsDay yesterday that police blamed cash shortages for causing the delays.
“The only point we seem to be getting is that there are no resources. They (police) are saying that they have an intention to renovate the holding cells, but we have not been told when this would take place,” Chiota said.
He added: “Some of these cells were built long back and are very much dilapidated and we feel this is an issue that requires to be treated with the urgency it deserves.
“We visit police cells in different parts of the country to get an appreciation of the state of affairs there and I can say that most of them are in a dilapidated state and need to be renovated as well.”
He implored the law enforcement agents to ensure they respect court rulings that have a bearing on basic human rights.
Female Prisoners’ Support Trust director Rita Nyamupinga said her organisation was inundated with complaints about the filthy conditions at the holding cells.
“Female inmates continue to complain about the state of the holding cells and this even includes the way they are treated by the police while in detention. Some of them breathe a sigh of relief when they are sent to Chikurubi Prison because they say the conditions there, even though they are not okay, are much better than in the holding cells,” Nyamupinga said.
Contacted for comment, police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi could not disclose when the cells would be refurbished.
“If a directive is issued by the courts to the ZRP, we comply with that directive and communicate about progress through the normal channels where that directive would have emanated from,” Nyathi said.