‘Chikurubi jailbreak was not politically-motivated’

ChikurubiZvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The jailbreak attempt by inmates at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in March last year was not politically-motivated as claimed by senior prison officials, but was spawned by food shortages, Parliament heard yesterday.

The Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services chaired by Buhera MP Cde Ronald Muderedzwa, said evidence that the committee got from prison officers on the ground was more credible than that which they got from senior officers.

Cde Muderedzwa was making a presentation of the committee on the jailbreak attempt at Chikurubi that occurred in March last year.

Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services Deputy Commissioner-General Aggrey Huggins Machingauta had told the committee that the jailbreak attempt was aimed at embarrassing President Mugabe, who was on an official visit to Japan.

“Your committee found some inconsistencies which had to be clarified,” said Cde Muderedzwa.

“In this regard, your committee found the evidence given by the officers on the ground on the day of the incident more credible and substantiated.”

Another member of the committee, Buhera West MP Cde Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu-PF) said they found no evidence linking the jailbreak attempt to politics.

“There was no evidence to show that the jailbreak was a result of politics,” he said.

“We found that it was as a result of lack of food.

“It is important that Government improves conditions in prisons.”

Southerton MP Mr Gift Chimanikire (MDC-T), who is also a member of the same committee, concurred.

“We found that the main cause behind security breach was food or non-availability of it,” he said.

“No evidence that the attempted jail break was meant to embarrass the President. It was just an allegation.”

Tafara/Mabvuku MP Mr James Maridadi (MDC-T) said Dept Comm-Gen Machingauta must be charged for misleading Parliament by claiming that there was politics at hand during the attempted jail break. He said senior Government officials, including Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, were misled that RMG End Time Message leader Robert Gumbura was the ringleader when in fact the issue was merely related to food.

Shamva South MP Cde Joseph Mapiki (Zanu-PF) said there was need for Government to be innovative to feed inmates to avoid what happened at Chikurubi.

In his evidence when he appeared before the same committee last year, Dep Comm Machingauta said inmates had roped in members of the prison services, the police, the army and intelligence services to breach the country’s security.

He said according to their intelligence, the objective of the inmates was to attack senior Government officials once they made good their escape.

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  • Tichayana

    At last some information sanity prevails, instead of the usual Zanu-PF paranoia that always links legitimate demands to some fantasist regime change agenda. For the moment Government is largely reliant on foreign donor support and unaffordable loans to feed starving millions of Zimbabweans and implement programmes to feed hungry school children. Realistically what means are available to a bankrupt government to assure minimum nutritional needs and rights of prisoners, guaranteed under international treaties and Zimbabwe’s constitution?

  • chakara

    Gross incompetence, the result is very obvious, the deputy comm must be relieved of his position to a competent person

  • Ray Mbada

    Ko-nhai James Maridadi, ndiwe wavekuto taura zvinofanirwa kuitwa here kana kuti wakatumwa pamwe nevamwe kuti muite wongororo mugoturira zvamunenge mawana kune vakakutumai? Iye azokutaurira kuti zvamakawana ndizvo zvechokwadi ndiyani? Ummmm changamire munenge mune moto mubhurukwa imi!

  • Sabhuku

    Taikuudzai kuti inzara mukati ndiChematama naMadam VP. Zvino munonyarirepi. The wheels have turned. Soon the author of our problems will the learned professor ad his cabal. We are led by incompetent people who cannot own up to their failings.Ndosaka pasina chinofamba kana kuimprover. Honestly, the use of the gun to restore order is repressive and anachronistic. Government should have stepped up and said, hey, we are broke, we cant feed these inmates. What can we do to avert mass starvations. Vane petty cases ngava bude under a presidential pardon; change the laws to increase fine options to petty crimes kuti vanopara mhosva varwadziwe; use the justice system to lean more towards fines and penalties; use criminal records to screen people for government positions and include so called petty crimes on the list to deter people from crime; execute people on death roll – harsh but can take care of 30-50 mouths to feed; use prisons to generate income and become self sustainable.What i am saying is rather than blame everyone and arraigning prisoners to court, the government could have done something. But the government, as always, does one of two things in the face of problems. Blame it on imagined enemies even when it caricatures them or hide their heads in the sand vakakotamira museve. Time has come yekuti the hunter achavasvikira musoro uri mujecha oregera museve neku rear uku. Tichaonerera zvedu hedu nemadofo edu aya.

  • Gary WekuZviyambe

    I have always stated on this forum that hunger was the cause. The politics story was too far fetched for anyone to believe it