Govt to demolish ‘inhabitable’ Harare prisons



Government is planning to demolish Harare Remand Prison as well as Harare Central Prison and construct new facilities because the current structures cannot be renovated and are unfit for human habitation.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi last week said Cabinet had approved the demolition of the two dilapidated prisons and plans are in place to construct new ones.

“I have been advised by the team from Public Works that we cannot do any refurbishment on them, so we shall be demolishing and building new ones,” Ziyambi said.

“So we are now looking at ways to deal with the issue. We shall either take the current inmates housed at these prisons to Chikurubi or open something in Marondera. The facilities are now old and no rehabilitation can be done there.”

A recent report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum showed that overcrowding and food shortages, among others, were rampant in the country’s prisons and that inmates were being deprived of their liberty and right to dignified cell conditions and sanitation.

Disease outbreaks and spread were high due to overcrowding.

Harare Prison has been identified as the worst with inmates using buckets to flush human waste either because of water shortages or because the flushing system was not working.

Ziyambi also said Cabinet had approved the repeal of the Prisons Act in a move that will see more open prisons being constructed.