Chikurubi prison break: Trial date set

HARARE - Nine Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison inmates accused of masterminding a foiled prison break will stand trial on July 20,a magistrate said yesterday.

Robert Martin Gumbura, 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 attempt to escape from lawful custody, incitement, malicious damage to property and incitement to assault or resist a peace officer.

They appeared before Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe.

Gumbura is being represented by Tapson Dzvetero while his accomplices are represented by David Hofisi from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

The State alleges that Gumbura told inmates to protest for better quality food.

The message was allegedly passed on to inmates in C and D halls.

The inmates allegedly sang throughout the night, banging on cell iron bars.

The State alleges that on March 13, Chiduke, Matambanadzo, Mhungu, Dodzo, Chacha and Chizema advised inmates in C Hall to reject prison food.

Jacob Sibanda and three other inmates, who are now deceased, allegedly incited inmates in D Hall to also protest.

Around 9am, porridge was served but inmates refused to eat it because it had no sugar.

They allegedly demanded to see the prison chief superintendent.

Towards lunch time, Chiduke, Matambanadzo, Mhungu, Dodzo, Chacha and Chizema allegedly demanded to see the officer-in-charge, who sent his subordinate, one Dumbura, who was told by the prisoners that they could not eat the food before pushing out containers brought with lunch.

The now-deceased Titus Mandikoza allegedly climbed on top of the roof and started shouting that prisoners were not supposed to eat the food.

At that moment, Vhumbunu and Sibanda poured the food on the prison officer and violence erupted.

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