BY BRENNA MATENDERE
THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has banned visitors from bringing cooked food to inmates at Kwekwe Remand Prison at a time the institution is failing to provide standard meals.
The Southern Eye confirmed the development during an impromptu visit to the prison over the weekend, following reports that inmates at the institution were living in sub-human conditions.
Relatives and spouses of the inmates said they were shocked by the tough conditions set by the authorities.
“My husband is inside the prison and on remand over stocktheft allegations. However, since September last year, the officers have not allowed us to bring foodstuffs like sadza and rice or any other hot meals, fearing a cholera outbreak in the prison. It is disheartening because my husband always tells me that they are not well-fed and sometimes they are even forced to skip meals,” Letwin Mudlonga said.
Contacted for comment, Midlands/Masvingo ZPCS spokesperson Jere Ruzive confirmed that cooked food at the prison had been banned, but said reasons go beyond cholera fears.
“Cooked food is highly sensitive to our inmates’ well-being. They can be poisoned by relatives and co-accused persons. Genuine relatives with no ulterior motives know that and are fine with that. We are doing that as a preventive measure to their loved relatives in our custody. Even during the family week where more time was allocated to visitors, we did not allow cooked food,” he said.
However, Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance), who recently spent two weeks at the remand prison, immediately shot back at the ZPCS spokesperson saying he was insincere, and drew comparisons with Kwekwe and Gokwe prisons, where cooked food was allowed.