Prison riots: Accused's application dismissed

HARARE - A Harare magistrate yesterday dismissed applications made by six of the nine prisoners accused of masterminding the unprecedented food riots at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

The nine, Robert Gumbura, 59, Blessing Chiduke, 25, Luckmore Matambanadzo, 39, Luck Mhungu, 38, Taurai Dodzo, 47, Thomas Chacha, 37, Thulani Chizema, 32,Jacob Sibanda, 28, and Elijah Vhumbunu, 38, are being charged with attempting to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances in relation to malicious damage to property and incitement to assault or resist a peace officer.

They argued that the allegations did not disclose an offence at law.

However, magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe ruled that the event on February 13, when prisoners sang and banged jail bars till dawn, was a rehearsal for the riot that erupted on March 13.

He further stated it was necessary to put Gumbura to trial and establish whether he incited violence or not.

Gumbura allegedly told fellow inmates on February 13, they were foolish not to take the law into their hands and protest against the kind of food they were being served.

Chikwekwe said there was a nexus between events that occurred on February 13 and March 13.

“The event on March 13 was not a romantic affair at all. It is clear that it was a slow burning process which is a culmination of conspiration of February 13,” he said.

“Issues of proximity and time which were raised by accused are immaterial. It is not disputable that property was vandalised and prison officers were injured.

“I wonder if the people who sang throughout the night were from Mars, Jupiter or Pluto. They were obviously inmates within Chikurubi, therefore we can never know the whole truth about what transpired if the matter does not proceed to trial,” he said.

The matter was remanded to April 27.

Gumbura was represented by Tapson Dzvetero while his co-accused persons are now being represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

ZLHR notified the court of its intentions to have the matter referred to the high court.


Comments (3)

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You incacerated a man of God for crimes/sins that will be judged before God. Now he is causing havoc in the prisons as you allege. You ain't seen nothing yet. His work just as Paul his to bring the inmates closer to God. You cannot stop him by heaping more allegations or even locking him in solitary confinement. The power of God at work.

Mavara Azarevhu - 1 April 2015

Sando dzaGumbura.


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