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prisons turn into death traps as 100 inmates die in detention
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
December 02, 2013
More than 100
prisoners have perished in Zimbabwe’s prisons since January
2013 as the country’s correctional centres turn into death
the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPSC) told the parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
headed by Harare West Constituency legislator Hon. Jessie Majome
that more than 100 prisoners have died in Zimbabwe’s prisons
since January 2013 owing to nutrition-related illnesses induced
by food shortages and natural causes.
evidence before the committee, Virginia Mabhiza, the permanent secretary
in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and
ZPSC Deputy Commissioner Agrey Machingauta disclosed that food stock
outs had reached precarious levels owing to a shortage of financial
resources to purchase monthly food rations for the country’s
prison population which stands at 18 460 inmates.
Out of $1.2
million required to purchase monthly food rations, ZPCS was only
being receiving an allocation of $300 000 and hence is currently
struggling to enforce the mandatory dietary regime of three meals
a day to improve inmates’ health conditions.
Owing to fuel
shortages Mabhiza said the ZPCS was failing to transport prisoners
to attend court appearances.
legislators that her ministry will soon appoint an Acting Attorney-General
who will act as the legal adviser to the government following the
appointment of Johannes Tomana as the Prosecutor-General to head
the National Prosecuting Authority.
secretary protested that some members of the society were taking
advantage of the government’s reluctance and delays to harmonise
some laws with the new Constitution
and hence her ministry had identified 140 laws which do not require
comprehensive alignment to be amended by ways of a General Laws
disclosed that 36 prisoners had since January escaped from lawful
custody while eight had been apprehended once again.
77 children are currently held in the country’s prisons and
the ZPCS was relying on well-wishers who were providing financial
and material support for their upkeep.
secretary told the portfolio committee that her ministry will soon
dispatch an audit team to seize property such as vehicles, motorbikes
and grinding mills in 20 constituencies which had been sourced by
legislators under the Constituency Development Fund and who had
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