BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere tested positive to COVID-19, two days after she was released from remand prison on bail on allegations of publishing falsehoods.
Mahere spent seven days in remand prison and she complained before magistrate Trynos Wutawashe that she had been exposed to poor sanitary conditions when she was arrested which put her and other inmates at risk of contracting the virus.
She told the court that the deplorable sanitary conditions in cells, which include unavailability of running water, were not conducive for inmates to adhere to the World Health Organisation guidelines on fighting COVID-19.
She announced her status on social media through her Facebook page yesterday.
“Despite having been in an ‘isolation cell’ and the ‘quarantine section’ at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, I have tested positive for COVID-19, following seven days of pre-trial incarceration,” she said.
“While I currently only have a cough and fever, I have chosen to share my results to draw attention to the deplorable state of our prison conditions and the very real threat faced by inmates at these facilities.”
On Monday, suspended Harare mayor Jacob Mafume failed to attend court because he was reportedly in quarantine.
He is on bail on allegations of trying to bribe a witness in the case in which he is accused of abuse of office.
His lawyer, Tendai Biti said a doctor recommended that Mafume should be quarantined after three of his cellmates in remand prison reportedly succumbed to COVID-19.
Other detainees, journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and MDC Alliance vice-chairman Job Sikhala also recounted in court the dearth of sanitary facilities in remand prison which they said exposed inmates to contracting COVID-19.
“My heart breaks for the many inmates whom I left behind. They don’t even have the most basic need — running water. This is before we look at soap, sanitiser, clean masks and proper facilities to enable social distancing. Their lives matter,” Mahere said.
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