Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Chikurubi Maximum Security prison has gone for 10 years without running water while most prisons in the country are facing water woes after local authorities and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority disconnected supplies.
The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services owe the local authorities over US$2 million in water bills.
Appearing before the Senate Thematic Committee on Human Rights ZPCS Deputy Commissioner General Aggrey Machingauta, said the situation at Chikurubi was dire.
“Inmates are entitled to clean water and proper sanitation. Unfortunately the prevailing situation in most if not all our institutions is pathetic. This is due to water cuts and rationing by local authorities and Zinwa. Chikurubi Prison Complex is the hardest hit as it has gone for more than a decade without taped water.
“The water cuts and rationing do not take into account our condition which requires running water day and night. Authorities cut water without notice, non-settlement of debts and other reasons are not given to us,” he said.
He added that the situation was worsened by the fact that prisoners had no alternative supplies of water because of their circumstances.
“It is by the grace of God that today we have not encountered outbreaks of water borne diseases. It is my fervent hope that this honourable committee will add voice to ours to ensure we have running water day and night at our institutions to ensure the provision of clean water to our inmates,” Deputy Comm Gen Machingauta said.
He added that the institution owed local authorities and Zinwa US$2 million in unpaid water bills.
Zimbabwe has 46 prisons and 23 satellite prisons that currently have a holding capacity of 17 000 although there are currently 17 318 inmates in the institutions.
The inmates include 80 juveniles, 308 women while there are also 29 babies who are staying with their mothers.
Deputy Comm Gen Machingauta said they owed referral hospitals over US$545 000 in unpaid bills, while drugs supplies for their clinics stood at 55 percent of requirements instead of the accepted minimum of 85 percent.