Gumbura behind Chikurubi Prison riots: Mnangagwa

VICE-PRESIDENT and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday told Parliament that jailed RGM Independent End Time Message church leader Robert Martin Gumbura — who is serving a 40-year jail term for rape — was among over 100 inmates who planned the violent food riots that broke out at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison last Friday.


The violence left five prisoners dead and several guards injured as over 900 inmates protested the poor diet served at the correctional facility.

Mnangagwa made the remarks after Zengeza West MP Simon Chidhakwa (MDC-T) demanded to know how government had responded to the riots.

Said Mnangagwa: “Chikurubi houses the most dangerous criminals in the country — robbers, rapists, infidels serving 45 years, 60 years, 70 years — and a group of them — about 100 — had conspired to break away from prison.

“Surprisingly also, Gumbura was chairing that conspiracy at the compound area where meals are served and the mutiny was over the issue of there being no meat in their relish.”

Mnangagwa said the prisoners then broke some water pipes and kitchen furniture while others picked up bricks which they used to attack guards resulting in eight officers being injured.
He added that, while the other inmates were rioting, the organisers were busy climbing prison walls trying to escape, and that resulted in the guards opening fire.

He claimed that the organisers of the demonstrations had misled other prisoners that firearms carried by the guards were not loaded, hence they were harmless.

“One inmate was shot and he died. They began to retreat and some got wounded in the process and in total five prisoners have died. We have enhanced security at Chikurubi Maximum Prison and have put the troublesome prisoners in the penal section. Repairs are also underway on the damaged roof. Two prisoners had climbed the roof to escape and were shot at.”

Harare West MP Jessie Majome (MDC-T) quizzed Mnangagwa to explain what government had done to improve the prisoners’ diet and why the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) had falsely told journalists that the five prisoners had died as a result of a stampede.

In response, Mnangagwa said: “I want to believe the report I was given by my officials was the authentic report and not the one in the newspapers. Zimra (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority) has since donated food including cooking oil confiscated at border posts.
“We have a few cattle at prisons and about 18 000 prisoners, and just imagine how many cattle we would kill to give them meat. Besides, the prescribed diet at prisons is not meat every day. We do not have the pleasure to entertain them as if it is a hotel, we should make sure they realise they are in prison.”

This comes as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has accused Treasury of failing to adequately fund the ZPCS.

In a statement yesterday, ZHRC chairperson Elasto Mugwadi said: “The government is called upon to adhere to the constitutional as well as the international obligations that Zimbabwe is party to, such as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which calls upon the State to provide an acceptable standard when it comes to the welfare of inmates including their food, bedding, clothing and medical services, amongst others.”

Meanwhile, Makonde MP Kindness Paradza (Zanu PF) asked Mnangagwa to explain why Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko was still staying at a hotel because the government had not yet allocated him an official residence. “There is a government house which is still being occupied by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and our Constitution does not say if one retires as PM government should continue to take care of them,” Paradza said.

But Mnangagwa said Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Prime Ministers were all entitled to stay in State residences and the type of house varied according to their grades.

He said Mphoko could not stay in a house meant for a Prime Minister as his grade was higher.

“VP Mphoko’s house is being constructed and once painting is finished, he will stay there,” Mnangagwa said.

Harare Central MP Murisi Zvizwai (MDC-T) raised a point of order with the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, saying Mphoko must attend Parliament to take questions from MPs, adding it would also give a chance for him to meet legislators.

Meanwhile, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday issued a statement saying the country would meet digitalisation migration deadlines. He said under the new dispensation, viewers would be required pay monthly subscriptions of between $3 and $6 to access television services.

He said the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe had engaged a Chinese company to take charge of the digitalisation project.
Parliament will also have dedicated channels for everyday live coverage.

Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) raised the issue of journalist-cum-human rights activist Itai Dzamara’s abduction.
Chamisa demanded that Dzamara should be accounted for to assure citizens that Islamic extremists Book Haram, Al-Shabaab or Isis were not involved in his abduction.

Mudenda yesterday dismissed recent petitions submitted by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) seeking to block passage of the Reserve Bank Debt Assumption Bill.

Mudenda accused the NGOs of failing to follow the correct procedure.


  1. nyaya dzanyorwa apa dzawandisa unotoshaya kuti uno commenta IPI.

  2. dont hate gumbura guyz.,,,akambonyanyo para yei ko!? Ingawani mhondi nembavha zvirikungoita madiro munyika, where z dzamara ryt now…nxaaaaaa

  3. Hon Jessie Majome, thank you for helping to protect us the ordinary citizens from public officers who deliberately lie about public occurrences. I think you should take further action against the spokes person of the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services Elizabeth Banda-Karinda by asking parly to summon her that she explains why she had to lie to the nation. She must be held accountable to her lies and fired from public office if she will not offer to resign on her own accord-unless it is the VP who is giving a wrong account of what happened? The nation cannot be lied to that only rubber bullets were fired when actually live bullets were fired. The nation cannot be lied to that people died from a stamped when shot down. An independent inquiry must be instituted by parliament on what exactly happened rather than relying on the prison services officials’ report which seems to pile all blame on useless Gumbura and the other “99 prisoners” and seems to exonerate the prison services officials from any form of blame.

  4. I think Gumbura once tried to sweet talk one of these guys many ladies,so he is being roped in to be dealt with accordingly.It doesnt make sense that he is the guy behind the riots,When everyone knows that they is no food in the prisons.
    And VP Mboko staying in a hotel the bill being footed by the sm gvt which can not pay workers.I wonder if the hotel is being paid,or the bill is going to go unpaid like so many unpaid bills to Quality Inter Hotel

  5. the only nation in which ‘respected’ officials can lie and get away with it.Zvichapera riniko varume?

  6. When a newly appointed VP stays in a hotel because his house is ‘still being constructed’, it bobbles the mind. Where was Cdes Nkomo, Muzenda, Nkomo, Mai Mujuru staying? Did they go with the state houses as part of the package? Please let’s be serious Cde Mnangagwa. Our heads should not be just to carry nice hats and haircuts – they should be used ndapota!

    And when a VP can’t stay in a house that was once used as a PM’s residence simply because of their grade, I doubt we’re still sane. It’s the same with cars, fuel allowances, everything. And this is coming from a government that is reportedly broke! Are we also going to say the VP’s status or grade does not warrant him travelling on our cratered roads. Surely when we talk about cutting govt expenditure, it must start with excesses like these. Ndatenda hangu.

    1. So when Cde Mugabe vacates state house, the next president will have to wait for another to be built? Boggles the mind really.

  7. The Chief Butler

    don’t worry martin, be patient, only 39 years to go. it will be just as yesterday when they are past. RAPTURE is just around the corner ; REPENT. mwazwa ngemukanwa mwakude kumbokwangura. in that glorious morning prison days will be ended. over yonder sister rebecca will set before thee savory goat meat, and Muzvare Mawambo will give you butter, milk and tender calf meat. let the prodigal son come to his senses and david will build thee houses in the city of david, and will give thee a loaf of bread and a good piece of flesh and a flagon of wine. your eyes shall ever be red with wine from odzi, and your teeth white with milk from chipinge. come and dine. there is bread and fish upon the fire. your provision for the day shall be 30kgs of beef, 25kgs of chicken, 40 loaves of bread, 10 dozens of eggs, 40 litres of wine and the best fruits of the land( maroro, tsamatsi, tsubvu, matohwe, nzviru, mandwide, nyii nemauyu..and honey, karinga usawi mix kuti uzipirwe. in that day sarah will give abraham the rod of eden and he shall cast away the bond women from the bride chambers and you will go to bath in save river accompanied by 100 concubines, 15 virgins shall dance before thee in the palace and 7 maids will prepare your bed guarded by 70 elders of the valiant of ephesus.
    meanwhile eat HIS flesh and drink HIS blood..

  8. the way they handled the situation was extreme(i mean the prisoners) and i dont support such an aproach but nyaya chaiyo yakakonzera izvi it still hasnt been resolved batai vasungwa sevanhu treat them like animals they will act like animals .yes they deserve to be in prison but gvt has a duty to uphold the constitution ,the prisoners rights mustnt be thrown out the window nekuti “””most dangerous criminals in the country — robbers, rapists, infidels serving 45 years, 60 years, 70 years ” give them food ,proper clothes and housing hatisikuti vaite mutambarakede variikoko kujeri asi dont forget they are still human and dont forget also with our legal system yakadhakwa there are many inocent ones variko vakapomerwa dzavasina kupara so balance is needed .

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