HARARE magistrate, Francis Mapfumo will on Monday lead a team of court officials to Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison for an inspection in loco at the facility where jailed Independent End Time Message leader, Robert Martin Gumbura and eight inmates allegedly organised food riots and attempted a jailbreak in 2015.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
This was disclosed yesterday after Gumbura, armed robber Lucky Matambanadzo (39), Blessing Chauke (25), Lucky Mhungu (38), Taurai Dodzo (47), Thomas Chacha (37), Thulani Chizema (32), Jacob Sibanda (28) and Elijah Vhumbunu (38) appeared before Mapfumo.
The State has lined up 14 witnesses and only two gave their testimonies before Mapfumo. The nine are facing charges of attempting to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances or alternatively conspiracy in aggravating circumstances for allegedly maliciously damaging property.
They are also facing charges of incitement to assault or resist a law officer. Gumbura, who is represented by Tapson Dzvetero, and accomplices are denying the allegations.
Allegations are that at around 9am, the inmates refused to eat the porridge, which had no sugar and demanded to see the officer-in-charge, a Chief Superintendent Marange who then sent his deputy, a Superintendent Dumbura who addressed them.
At that time, the inmates pushed out the food containers which had been brought for lunch refusing to be addressed by Dumbura.
Dumbura left C hall and went to D hall, where he ordered for food to be brought in and served to those who wanted to eat.
The court heard before the food was served, Titus Mandikodza, who is now late, went on top of the roof through a hole in the asbestos sheets, which they had already drilled.
At that moment, it is alleged, Vhumbunu and Sibanda took sadza and vegetable relish and threw it at Dumbura and that is when violence erupted, with prisoners vandalising property, whose value is estimated at $450 000.
It is the State’s case that the inmates attacked prison officers, seriously injuring three of them.
During the melee, they tried to escape, but their bid was foiled by the police support unit that was called for reinforcement.
Michael Reza appeared for the State.