Prison riots political — ZPCS

HARARE - Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) boss yesterday attributed the prison riots which left five prisoners dead at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison recently to external political shenanigans meant to discredit President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

The attempted prison break, occured at lunchtime on March 13 at the Chikurubi Maximum security prison in Harare. The inmates were protesting  against the relish — vegetables (munyemba, cowpeas) — they had been given, which they did not want.

In the melee, 23 inmates and 19 officers were injured.

Agrey Huggins Machingauta, ZPCS deputy commissioner general, told the Defence and Security parliamentary portfolio committee yesterday, that the protests were engineered by opposition forces bent on discrediting Mugabe.

He said: “The Chikurubi Maximum prison incident was really unfortunate and influenced by outside forces and politically-motivated... the motive behind the rioters’ behaviour was mainly to escape from prison in order to shame the ZPCS and the nation at large.

“You may recall that the timing coincided with the visit of His Excellency to Japan, hence the calculation was to embarrass the head of state whilst he is in a foreign country.

“Yes, we admit that they were eating sadza nemunyemba (cowpeas), which is not very pleasant but we have had food shortages before.”

He claimed the ZPCS probe team had caught wind of the plan two weeks before it happened.

“The situation of Friday the 13th was saved from an en masse escape,” he said.

“The scenario was designed that all the 2 293 dangerous inmates were going to walk out of the prison. The information that we got is that they were meant to go and attack senior government officials and they really wanted to go,” he said.

Admitting that “a hungry man is an angry man,” Machingauta claimed internal investigations had revealed nefarious communication between the rioting prisoners and unnamed outsiders — through visitors.

“We actually have names,” he said.

“Within the prison, they had formed committees with chairpersons and this lady would come from outside to visit the chairman and pass on information.

“In 2007 and 2008, we actually lost lives in our prisons because of lack of food but we never experienced a riotous situation, so we wouldn’t want to buy the idea that it caused the riots.

“The inmates used it to try and cover up the outside influence. The outsider had also recruited our own officers, members of the ZRP and defence forces and intelligence.” He admitted his claims were “difficult to prove.”

Apart from food shortages, Machingauta said the prison was plagued with staff shortages and lack of surveillance cameras and metal detectors.

He also said the country’s 46 prisons are overwhelmed, holding nearly 20 000 inmates against a carrying capacity of 17 000.

“The number of inmates continues to rise,” he said. “We had budgeted for 15 000 but now we have 20 000. The food we got after the riots runs out beginning of June. This will continue as long as VaChinamasa (Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa) vasina kutipa mari (fails to give us money) to fund production at our farms.”

Comments (12)

This Machingauta , a mother f**ker. Why would you lie?

Nonagenarian - 12 May 2015

Just one question to the journalists who attend these hearings , do the members of the commities ask questions sezvinoitwa kune dzimwewo nyika here or someone can just compose a speech without being challenged. Next time publish the questions we want to know what kind of questions these people will be answering kusvikira murume mukuru otaura zvinonyadzisaso. We want a proper reflection of the calibre of parliamentarians beyond their names vanhu vazive zvavakavhotera!

Mazana Mambombo - 12 May 2015

hahahaha, kkkkk, this guy actually gave a report like this? This is so sad to think that all those parliamentarians would actually sit and listen to crap like this, this is why our country is going nowhere. Ko akadii kungonyarara hake mudhara uyu, even iye mugabe I think aitoseka achinzwa tsvina yakadai ichitaurwa nababa ava. God Help Zimbabwe! We are in real trouble if this is what they are discussing in parliament!!

redemption - 12 May 2015

This Machingauta must be forced to resign or get fired at the earliest opportunity. How can he under oath, tell the parliamentarians this hog wash fiction. Its either he is high on dope or someone lunatic wrote the dossier for him.

reason - 13 May 2015

Yohweee-e...hanzi we have had food shortages before where prisoners lost their lives but they never duh, any person can take so much suffering. Pfungwa shoma.....

obama4ever - 13 May 2015

Whatever happens it happens for a purpose. When such happen we take it as a prayer to pray for. We dont take it as a problem to discredit someone. Lets put our heads together and pray for God intervention! Let love lead and help on top of prayers. Lets come up with plan open an account and give money for food and form a committee for those with kind to give whatever they have. You are what you are because of someone and that someone is he what he is because of you guys therefore we need one another. I salute you Ass comm Machingauta to protect that nation and our President Mugabe. We pray for our leader for long life and wisdom not to condemn. Who are we to condemn and judge? Even us we will be judged too. Let God only judge not us human being. Keep it up Ass Com Machingauta you are a father who protect. Abrabram got drunk with wine in the bible, those children who laughed at the nakeness of their father we cursed. Hence lets not be cursed when we laugh to such Prisoners fight. But the child who cover Abraham was blessed, Machingauta you are blessed! I see peace in Prisons, i see love in Prisons and His presence. Let love lead.

Tatenda - 14 May 2015

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