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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 February 2016 42-34
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday 11th February, 2016
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
TIME LIMIT OF MOTIONS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to draw the attention of Hon. Members to the provisions of Standing Order Number 103 relating to the time limit of motions. I therefore, appeal to Hon. Members to debate motions in time and for the movers of motions to wind up their respective motions within the stipulated 21 sitting days. Hon. Members should note that at the expiry of the time limit, the affected motions will automatically fall off the Order Paper and they will not be reinstated.
CHANGES TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House of changes in the membership of Portfolio Committees. Hon. A. Mnangagwa moves from the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water and
Tourism and Hospitality Industry to the Portfolio Committee on Foreign
Affairs and Hon. Dziva moves from the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment to the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development.
HON. MUNENGAMI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to say that through your Office Mr. Speaker Sir, if you can expedite the issuance of the amended versions of Standing Rules and Orders in order for us as Members of Parliament to comprehend the new rules and regulations of Parliament because that is really affecting us.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Munengami, I want to assure you that we have completed the amendments and I want to believe that by next week or thereabout, the amended Standing Orders will be put in the pigeon holes.
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: My point of order comes in the area of
privileges for Parliamentarians. While Government is trying to find finances to sponsor whatever they are sponsoring, Members of Parliament are having problems in getting allowances. They do not get allowances and fuel. It is difficult for them to do their duties, taking into consideration that in other countries, a Member of Parliament has got an office, which is properly manned and there is proper research for a member to be able to debate and come up with informed information. Whatever is happening, this House is not being properly financed to ensure that Members of Parliament are doing their duty.
While it has come to your attention that some Members of
Parliament leave this House when it is not yet time up for the sitting; it is because they are going out to look for money to make sure that they survive. It is not enough to sit in Parliament for four days and end up with nothing at home in this economy.
Vice President Mphoko having entered the House.-[HON. ZWIZWAI: Hamusikuona Vice President varikupinda here zvamunoramba makagara?]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you the Chief Whip now for the
HON. ZWIZWAI: No, it is just patriotism.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Eng. Mudzuri, your point of order is
noted but I have got reservations in terms of your seriousness of that point of order. When we debated the budget, that is the time when you should have raised the issues to beef up our budget so that it would adequately take care of the requirements of Parliament. The point is taken and we will ensure that remedial action is considered to put things right.
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Hon Speaker, I think you
misunderstood me because I am talking of Members of Parliament. If a Member of Parliament comes from Victoria Falls, he travels here to do work. He does not get fuel; it is not about the budget. It is about their travelling here and just surviving. There is no maintenance of the vehicle, it is purely fuel. It is running of the portfolio of a Member of Parliament for him to be efficient, visit his constituency and to talk to the people. There are so many responsibilities given to a Member of
Parliament which are never discussed and understood by the community. They do not understand that Members of Parliament are not given enough resources to run those constituencies. –[HON. MEMBERS:
I am appealing to you that whatever is there must be there to assist the work of the Members of Parliament to oversee central Government-
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, order! Hon. Eng. Mudzuri,
I think you raise a very valid point. What needs to be understood is that we have had an inherited debt from the Seventh Parliament and I received a delegation twice beginning of last year when it was pointed out to me by Members of the Seventh Parliament who did not come back that they were in dire straits.
From a humane point of view, we approached the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to expedite the outstanding amount of about US$6 million – to pay off that debt which is a right outstanding to them. That has since been rectified. Now, I am hoping that whatever we are owed, Treasury will respond accordingly.
Furthermore, the point of order raised normally should be appropriately addressed through the Committee on Welfare of Members of Parliament –[HON. MEMBERS: Hakuna.]- It is there and it is chaired by Chief Whips from both sides –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Do you want…..–[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Hon. Sibanda, I said order. If you want an explanation, you must listen to the Chair. Thank you.
Unless you are disputing the integrity of the Chair, that Committee is there. It is a sub-committee under the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. So, in your Caucuses, meet your Whips and talk to them so that they can bring some of these issues to the Committee on Standing Rules. If you have no faith in those Whips, you should vote and give us new Whips who can work for you. Any other point of order?
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: With all due respect, I appreciate your… -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Can the hon. member be heard?
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: The mere fact that the Seventh
Parliament is owed money and this Parliament’s Members are owed fuel for more than 20 weeks and they are also owed allowances for more than two years, you are making us not to respect ourselves by not presenting it to you.
The subcommittee you are talking about is more of a social gathering. It is not really in any structure of Parliament. All the Caucuses are more of social gathering than what you should be appreciating. You are the most senior person in this House. You should be helping us to present this case as it is, say how much is owed and make sure that MPs are efficient in the discharge of their duties. This year, we have a lot of work because we want to come in with the Acts of Parliament. We need to consult and we have to move everywhere, but if we look back and talk about yester-year or yester two years and we are not rectifying that, then we are actually making this House defunct. I therefore appeal to you Hon. Speaker, not to compare what happened in
- Some of the Members here are still owed from the other
Parliament. So, we are rendering all those Parliamentarians ineffective. One of these days we may bring a motion on this and then we can debate it if we fail to get a proper answer. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I indulge you Hon. Eng. Mudzuri. I
think you were not listening carefully. The matter is taken and as Speaker, if I inherit debts concerning your erstwhile fellow Hon. Members, I should make sure that they are taken care of as well and cleared out of the way. From a humane point of view and what is owed to the 8th Parliament, it is being addressed by the Chair in the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. So, the point is taken and the appeal is taken.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: I have stood to raise a point of order. My point of order is that this House is so small that it cannot accommodate all of us. We also have problems with parking space in the car park, which is inadequate. You gave us parking space near the park but when we get here after 1 o’clock, it will be full. As I am speaking right now, it is full.
I also want you to know that we are being harassed by our own police officers when we are parking our motor vehicles. They are now behaving as if our roles have been exchanged. They are now the Hon. Members and we are now the police. We are now being treated like slaves and we are not being accorded our due respect as law makers.
We cannot say staff should remove their cars from the parking area. They all have cars and they have filled up the car park. It would be in bad taste if we were to ask the members of staff to remove their motor vehicles from the parking area. When we want to park our motor vehicles at the front, we are threatened with clamping of our motor vehicles and ordered to remove our motor vehicles by the police. I will give an example, MPs are now parking their vehicles on the pavement of private businesses. Police officers insulted me for parking. Should I bring my motor vehicle into the Parliament building? There is insufficient space in the House itself and you end up saying we run away, but it is because we are now taking shifts to park our motor vehicles and give each other space.
Whatever the issues, let us build the new Parliament so that we have enough sitting space and parking space. Not all of us are here because of the inadequate space. Some are outside and we are now taking shifts to be in the House. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON SPEAKER: - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible
interjections] - Order, order Hon. Members. Hon. Chinotimba, you have said a lot of things. That you are being harassed by the police, I have taken note of it and we will make a follow up. On the issue of parking space, I would want to believe that we are now getting to a point where we are going to remove our damaged vehicles so that we will have adequate parking space. Thirdly, you said that you go and remove your motor vehicles so that your colleagues can also park, that is incorrect. Were it correct I would not find a few MPs at 16.30hrs. The majority of you will have gone. Be honest and say the truth, you will have gone, completely gone for the day.
Fourthly, it is true that the new Parliament building should be constructed. I believe next week we are going to meet with the Minister of Local Government, who was tasked with ensuring that the contractors to the new Parliament commence their work in earnest. We are meeting them on Monday next week. I remember that - Hon. Labode, if you do not understand shona, please listen.
I was just saying we will encourage them to expedite the construction of the building so that within 18 months or so we will be having a new Parliament with adequate sitting and parking space. I thank you.
HON. ZINDI: On a point of order Hon. Speaker, I am of the opinion that when we are raising such pertinent issues, it is important that we reach the logical conclusion of these issues, particularly regarding the welfare of MPs. In addition to what Hon Chinotimba –
THE HON SPEAKER: Order, I want the point of order to be raised and not a speech. What is your point of order?
HON. ZINDI: My point of order is that in addition to what Hon. Chinotimba has raised with regards to harassment of MPs, especially during the Official Opening of Parliament or even the issuing of Parliament I.Ds, MPs are squeezed in that corridor in order to come up with that procession and I am of the opinion that it is high that issue should be…
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. ZINDI: My point of order is that Members of Parliament should be given the treatment they deserve as Hon Members not to be squeezed like sardines in a can of oil as what we experience whenever there is official opening of Parliament. We are made to stand for more than three hours squeezed in that corridor. Again I am suggesting that you as the Presiding Officer…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! I want a point of order please, not
HON ZINDI: Hon Speaker, I thought I would as well make a suggestion which we have on several times made in this House. Can we use the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) which has enough space to accommodate all Members of Parliament?
On another point of order! I am of the opinion that …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! You cannot make two points of
order please. You are an experienced Member of Parliament, you should know better. Please take your sit so that I respond.
The question of procession and crowding will be taken into account and I want to assure Hon. Zindi that administratively we will make sure that the crowding should not occur, I am promising you that.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My point of order is based on the fact that Senate adjourned last week on Thursday. This morning I met Hon. Members of Senate, about 10 of them at one of the local hotels, I just want to find out whether Senate was sitting again this week.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Can you make your point of
order? What is your point of order?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My point of order Mr. Speaker Sir is that these Hon. Senators that I saw, informed me that they have been in hotels since last week on Thursday up to date. My question is that are Hon. Members of Parliament becoming prisoners of the State who are being kept in hotels for a week against their will, when they are supposed to be servicing their constituencies. They have stayed from Thursday last week up to date because they have not yet been given fuel for them to travel back to their constituencies. So, the question Mr.
Speaker is that if they have become prisoners of the State…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! You have made your statement; I
have heard you, take your sit. I do not entertain questions in a point of order, you have made it very clear and I think I have understood you.
Please take your sit.
Hon. Sibanda, I will investigate that matter administratively and I will advice next week giving you a full response. Thank you. Be reminded that this is not a session for points of order.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of
order is on a separate note as I see that all these proceedings have given you a lot of headaches, mine will be a bit different. It is to do with Contempt of Parliament which has happened in this august House with regard to the then Chairperson of the Procurement Board and the then
Minister of Youth, indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Hon. Kasukuwere. I stand guided that we await a decision which you said you were going to bestow at a time which was relevant. As I speak today Mr. Speaker Sir, that judgment has not come forth, what is the position?
Are you still pondering on the decision or it is taking too long to take.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Musteyami, because you are not a lawyer, I will forgive you but I thought you answered yourself that the Chair will give the ruling at the relevant time. That relevant time has not yet arrived, possibly next week.
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. In fact I just wanted to also kick in to add my voice to the point that has already been put before the House. I also want to amplify your thoughts of concluding that it is very difficult for us to reduce Parliament into a grievances chamber for Members of Parliament. I think it is an abuse of the tax payers’ money, national time because we own national time as a resource but that said and done, it is a very crucial issue that has been put forward by all Members of Parliament.
The point of order is that instead of you bothering yourself to respond Hon Speaker Sir; you are actually taking what is not your problem. The problem is to do with us as Members of Parliament; we do not know our powers. So in terms of our Constitution, Section 148…
THE HON SPEAKER: Order! Can you be brief in your point of order?
HON. CHAMISA: In terms of our Constitution, Section 148…
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am not allowing a statement.
HON. CHAMISA: Unless you are saying that I should abbreviate my thoughts to the extent of not making sense but to the extent that I cannot abbreviate any further, allow me then to have that space Hon. Speaker Sir. You may not see the wisdom of it but it is actually meant to help you. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Be brief! - [Laughter]-
HON. CHAMISA: In that brevity spirit, Section 148 of our
Constitution, deals with the immunities and privileges of Members of Parliament. If you look at all these issues, we have not resolved some of the issues that were raised by Members of Parliament, wherein Members of Parliament are then asked to come in to Parliament, being subjected to harassment and embarrassment. All those things, Hon. Speaker Sir, have not been resolved. We need, within the context of Immunities and
Privileges Act to amend and then define our parameters to cater for what Hon. Chinotimba, Hon. Zindi or Hon. Sibanda is saying. So, we need the Immunities and Privileges Act to be amended so that we are loyal to our interests as Parliament.
However, more importantly, we have Section 153 dealing with the remuneration of Members of Parliament. We are the only Parliament where remuneration is not a sovereign remit of Parliament. We must be able to define what we are supposed to get because we define the budget of the country. For the reason that we do not know that, we allow other people to do it on our behalf. I hope that will be corrected. We need to do it – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
Hon. Mutsvangwa having walked out in the company of Hon.
Cross. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Chamisa, you have raised very good points. In Ndebele and shona they say, ungatshaya inja ufihlu induku or usarove imbwa wakaviga mupini. Hon. Chamisa, you are one of the most important members of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. You are responsible for the legal issues in that committee. I am surprised – [Laughter] – that you have paraded all these issues which are very pertinent. Unfortunately, these should be raised in the Committee on Standing Rules.
The Committee on Standing Rules must be seized with that matter. So, at our next meeting, come prepared with your proposals in terms of the Constitution. I am not allowing any further points of order. I see that there is a very good spirit hovering around here. I do not know what is happening – [AN HON. MEMBER: Maybe you had a nice Politburo meeting yesterday] –
NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
BILL, 2015 [H.B. 13, 2015]
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF NATIONAL HEALING, PEACE AND RECONCILIATION (HON. MPHOKO)
presented the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill, 2015
[H.B. 13, 2015].
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):
Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): I
move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 16th February, 2016
STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):
Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 16th February, 2016
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):
Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Order of the Day, Number 4 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day, have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
ADVERSE REPORT BY THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL
COMMITTEE ON STATUTORY INSTRUMENT NO. 77 OF 2015
Fifth Order read: Consideration of the Adverse Report of the
Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Amendment Bill, 2015 (H.B. 3A, 2015).
Question again proposed.
HON. SAMUKANGE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move to
withdraw the Adverse Report issued against Statutory Instrument No. 77 of 2015, (Presidential Powers) Application of Chapter 8:14 to the
Premier Medical Aid Society Regulations, 2015. The Statutory
Instrument has ceased to have effect as the 180 days has expired. In light of that, it has no effect whatsoever.
I want to take this opportunity Mr. Speaker to thank all the
Members of Parliament who debated eloquently, effectively and obviously motivated the Minister not to respond to the debate in favour of the Adverse Report. In particular, I want to thank the Members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee who supported, not only during the deliberations but in Parliament as well. I also want to make special mention to Hon. Chinotimba who argued in my respectful view, knowledgably and eloquently. In the circumstances, I move that the
Adverse Report be withdrawn. Thank you.
Report, with leave, withdrawn.
RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON THE FIRST REPORT OF
THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS ON THE ORDER PAPER
HON. MAJOME: I move the motion standing in my name that
the motion on the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, which was superseded by the end of the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament, be restored on the Order
Paper in terms of Standing Order Number 152(1).
HON. M. MAWERE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON
DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON
THE ATTEMPTED JAIL BREAK FROM CHIKURUBI
HON. MUDEREDZWA: I move the motion standing in my name
that this House takes note of the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Service on the
Attempted Jail Break from Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
HON. CHIDAVAENZI: I second.
SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON
DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON THE ATTEMPTED JAIL BREAK FROM CHIKURUBI MAXIMUM
HON. MUDEREDZWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move
the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Second Report on the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the attempted jail break from Chikurubi Maximum
HON. CHIMANIKIRE: I second.
HON. MUDEREDZWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
I rise to give a report on behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services. The essence of this report is that as a Portfolio Committee on security matters, we were drawn into an incident that happened at Chikurubi Maximum Prison. As a security sector Committee, we wanted to enquire and find out what has transpired. Your Committee is going to report on account of what transpired.
1.1 Section 227 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) whose mandate is to protect the society from criminal elements through incarceration and rehabilitation of offenders. The Prisons and Correctional Services fall under Security Services as defined by Section 207 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
1.2 In the exercise of its mandate, your Committee conducted an Inquiry where it sought to establish events leading to an attempted jailbreak at Chikurubi Maximum Prison on Friday 13th March, 2015. Further to that, your Committtee also sought to find out remedial action taken by the Prison Authorities to thwart jailbreaks of such nature in future.
Your Committee embarked on the following methodology to establish the causes for the lapses that led to security breaches of the Chikurubi Maximum Prison:-
- Gathered oral evidence from the Deputy Commissioner General of Prisons and Correctional Services, Aggrey Huggins Machingauta who was representing the Commissioner General of Prisons and Correctional Services.
- Paid a fact finding visit to Chikurubi Maximum Prison and conducted an on-site inspection within the Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
- Received oral evidence from officers who were on the ground on the day the attempted jailbreak occurred.
2.1 PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE
Your Committee received oral evidence from the Deputy
Commissioner General of Prisons and Correctional Services
Aggrey Huggins Machingauta, who was representing the Commissioner General, and was accompanied by Superitendent
2.2 In comprehensive evidence before your Committee, the Deputy Commissioner General stated that in discharging its mandate the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services manages 46 prison institutions that fall under 4 administrative regions. The holding capacity of the prison cells is 17000. Prison Institutions are classified from Grade one to four. These hold inmates of different classes ranging from class A to D. Consideration of Prisoners’ classification is determined according to crimes committed, term of incarceration awarded by the courts, the remaining part of the sentence after part thereof has been served and the danger those inmates pose to society.
2.3 The Deputy Commissioner General further informed your Committee that a grade one prison would ordinarily hold A class inmates who are trustworthy. These are the ones who are allowed to go about their chores without being supervised or escorted. A grade 2 prison accommodates B class inmates who are partially trusted and have to do their daily duties under escort. C class
inmates fall under grade 3 prison and cannot be trusted and require constant supervision day and night. This category of prisoners is dominated by unconvicted inmates and those convicted and serving sentences of up to 10 years.
2.4 Your Committee learnt that a Maximum Security Prison holds D class inmates and falls under grade 4. D class inmates are the most dangerous prisoners and can never be trusted; they include inmates who are under sentence of death, those who would have committed offences such as murder, rape, robbery, theft of motor vehicles among other crimes. They are the inmates who serve sentences of 10 years and above. Zimbabwe has only two such institutions, namely Chikurubi Maximum and Khami Maximum Prisons to
cater for this category of prisoners. Such a situation has led to overcrowding in these institutions being more pronounced than in other places. For example, Chikurubi Maximum Prison had a population of 2 293 inmates as of 11 May, 2015. The official holding capacity is 1 360.
3.1 In the conduct of its inquiry, your Committee sought to find out events leading to the disturbances that shook Chikurubi Maximum Prison on Friday 13 March 2015. In evidence, the Deputy Commissioner General informed your Committee that authorities were not surprised by the events that unfolded at the Chikurubi Maximum Prison on that day. The Authorities had gathered information from sister Intelligence Services that inmates were planning to destabilize operations at the institution. It was the submission of the Deputy Commissioner General that this information was received more than two weeks before the incident.
Evidence given to your Committee revealed that,
“The whole scenario was designed such that all the 2 290 dangerous inmates would have walked out of Chikurubi
Maximum Prison into the general public.’’
3.2 The Commissioner General of Prisons had written to the Commissioner General of Police informing him of the pending jailbreak attempt. Subsequently, pre-emptive measures had been taken to avert a situation where dangerous prisoners would have escaped en masse. To foil the attempted jailbreak, the Prison
Authorities re-deployed Security and Intelligence Personnel to the Chikurubi Maximum Prison in advance. However, this evidence was contradicted later on by Prison officials who were on the ground on the day the attempted jailbreak took place.
3.3 Your Committee received evidence which revealed that the incident started off with the refusal of inmates to take their meals.
They alleged that the relish served to them was of poor quality. The Deputy Commissioner himself conceded that to some extent the issue of food could have contributed to the attempted jailbreak, as he remarked as follows,
“The issue of food, of course yes, we agree that they were eating sadza nemunyemba, which is not very pleasant, but we have had food shortages before. In 2007 and 2008, we actually lost lives in our prison because of lack of food but we have never had riotous situations”.
Evidence led by the Deputy Commissioner General revealed that on receiving information that inmates were refusing to eat, two Superintendents, namely Dumbura and Chikayi went to the Halls to investigate and to address the inmates. To their horror, the inmates suddenly turned violent and started attacking the officers. They hastily retreated to safety. The inmates then demanded to see the Officer-in-Charge, Chief Superintendent G. Marange. By then, the situation was slowly getting out of hand. Some inmates started a fire in the Halls. At that juncture, the Officer-in-Charge contacted the Fire Brigade and also informed the Officer Commanding Assistant Commissioner G.Denya, who immediately rushed to the prison to investigate what was happening. Contrary to the evidence given by Deputy Commissioner General Machingauta, the officers on the ground at Chikurubi that day, led by the Officerin-Charge, Superintendent Marange, said that they were
completely taken by surprise when they found themselves being suddenly attacked by inmates and had soup and sadza poured on their heads and clothes.
3.4 According to Deputy Commissioner General Machingauta, intelligence reports had been received of the pending attempt to breakout from prison. Further to that, inmates got outside assistance to stage their ill-fated jailbreak through information smuggled into prison by visitors. He said the Prison and Correctional Services had managed to get the names of outsiders who had given information to inmates on how to stage their escape.
Your Committee was further informed that within the prison, inmates had formed committees which had a Chairman. Through their chairman, the inmates engaged a certain lady who masqueraded as a visitor and would often ask to see that Chairman. Using that mode of communication, information from outside the prison filtered through. That was how the alleged outsider
managed to communicate with inmates on what to do next. There was no evidence of any communication of information having been made on the ground on what was coming within the prison despite the fact that the authorities had a hint that potential unrest was simmering. Your Committee was informed that when pandemonium broke out, the prison authorities were overwhelmed. Evidence given by the Deputy Commissioner General was not consistent with that of officials on the ground on that day.
3.5 The chaos at the Maximum Prison was said to have grown out of hand as blankets and electrical fittings were engulfed in fire. The Fire Brigade tried in vain to extinguish the flames and unfortunately most of the damage had been done.
3.6 The Officer Commanding went to the C section of the Prison to calm down the situation by addressing inmates. They violently attacked him and the rest of the accompanying Officers, with all sorts of weapons that they laid their hands on. These ranged from broken water pipes and wooden shelves to other pieces of
destroyed Prison property such as electrical cables among other items. In the ensuing riotous situation, the Officer Commanding suffered a fractured leg. The other Officers accompanying him suffered varying degrees of injuries including a fractured backbone suffered by Prison Officer (2) Manyika Admire. As the riotous situation intensified, inmates dispossessed senior Prison Officer Muringani of his cellphone and straight away phoned the media to say Chikurubi Maximum Prison was burning
3.7 Some inmates managed to get access to the prison roof and they started encouraging their colleagues to join them. It was at this point in time that the Officer in Charge called for reinforcements as it was then clear that the intention of the inmates was to escape. The Zimbabwe Republic Police Support Unit timeously responded and ordered the inmates to climb down from the roof. They did not take heed and, instead, they started running all over the roof calling for other inmates from other sections of the Prison, including the Chikurubi Prison Farm to refuse food and get ready to leave
3.8 Sensing that the inmates could possibly jump over the security wall and make good their escape, the Support Unit team fired warning shots. The inmates ignored the warning shots. Instead, they made more noise, taunting the police and encouraging other inmates to join them. They dared the police to fire more shots and shouted encouragingly to other inmates telling them that the rifles were firing blank shots. They vowed that they were not going back into prison. They told other inmates to refuse their food as well and get ready to leave the prison. At that point in time, the Support Unit opened fire. The inmates scurried for cover back into prison. In the ensuing stampede, some inmates were injured and one died.
3.9 Eventually, the situation calmed down and the inmates were locked up in their cells. The injured were ferried to Parirenyatwa Group of
4.1 After the commotion had subsided, the prison authorities had to take stock of the casualties and damage to the prison. A total of 19 officers sustained minor injuries. They were treated and discharged while 2 others, namely, Prison Officer (2) A. Manyika and
Assistant Commissioner G. Denya were admitted at West-End Hospital for treatment where they spent three and seven days respectively. Twenty-three prisoners were injured during the disturbances. Eight of the injured were rushed to Parirenyatwa Hospital where they were admitted. Two were discharged from hospital on the 14th March, 2015. Two other prisoners passed away on 14th and 15th March, 2015 respectively. The remaining four prisoners were discharged from Parirenyatwa Hospital on the
16th, 17th, 19th and 26th March, 2015 respectively.
4.2 Your Committee was informed that no officer died in the disturbances. However, three out of four inmates died from injuries sustained during the stampede and one died from gunshot wounds. In evidence, the Deputy Commissioner General highlighted that,
“One died due to gunshot wounds and three due to injuries sustained during the stampede. Denis Aram was serving 29 years under Fire Arms Act and Pedzisai Nota alias Paula
Pedzisai Zuze who was in for armed robbery under Fire Arms Act serving a 27 year sentence and Titos Mandikonza was in for armed robbery, rape, unlawful entry and escape serving a 45 years sentence, as well as, Nicholas Dendera who was in for rape, serving 13 years sentence passed away on that day.”
5.0 Damage to Infrastructure
5.1 Mr. Speaker Sir, the attempted jail break from Chikurubi Maximum Prison caused extensive damage to two halls. For example, the roof was ripped open, all windows smashed, plumbing and wood works destroyed. The damage caused required thousands of dollars which were not budgeted for and these have to be met as a matter of urgency. Treasury has since availed US$200
000 for the repairs of the Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
6.0 Remedial measures taken
6.1 Following the failed jail break, prison authorities at Chikurubi resorted to ensuring that the Maximum Prison was secure by immediately repairing and improving security. Work had already started and they were almost fifty percent through with the repairs.
The Deputy Commissioner General had this to say,
“We were waiting for the procedure of procurement of this diamond mesh wire which I think sailed through only last week because it involves a lot of money. It involves State Procurement Board and I think we have been given green light now that we can procure. We are hoping; this week possibly, we will be able to procure the diamond mesh wire. Once that has been done, our welders will be on the ground to try and seal off that but the road was already repaired
and we are happy that there is a roof now.”
6.2 The issue of food had also been addressed as there was said to be adequate food for the inmates.
7.1 Evidence given to your Committee revealed the following glaring issues:
- The shortage of food posed a serious security threat and was the main cause of the riotous situation. The shortage of food could have been as bad or worse than what it was in 2007 and 2008 where some inmates were said to have died.
- There was evidence of lack of modern day security equipment such as closed circuit television cameras and audio equipment to capture what could be happening at any time around the prison complex. The timing of the attempted jailbreak was meant to coincide with the visit to Japan by His Excellency, the President, hence the calculation to embarrass the Head of State while out in a foreign country.
- The motive behind the attempted jailbreak was also aimed at disgracing the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services and the nation at large.
- Even though no inmate managed to escape, security had been breached.
- The infrastructure such as pipes, ceilings and the roof was obsolete, dilapidated and outdated as it had been built during the colonial days.
- The dignity of prisoners was severely compromised as they were exposed to antiquated ablution facilities.
- Utensils in the kitchen are very old and a serious cause for concern as the boilers and pots were either leaking or dysfunctional.
- The information that had been received relating to the envisaged escape had not been disseminated to lower ranks, hence they were taken by surprise when the riot broke out.
- While there were contradictions in the evidence given by the Deputy Commissioner General and that of the other officers who were on the ground on the day of the attempted jailbreak, this could have been prompted by lack of information flow within the system.
- Mock security drills were not being conducted as a way of asserting state of preparedness for any eventuality.
- The prison was overcrowded, a situation which compromises to a great extent, the welfare and dignity of inmates. Such a situation remains a ticking time bomb as it will remain a security challenge.
- Inmates were not being given their prison dietary scale due to acute shortage of food.
- The ageing infrastructure has severely compromised the security of the prison.
- Even to date, the security situation still remains risky at the Prison.
- There is need for urgent attention to cater for the welfare of inmates through the provision of linen, utensils and blankets.
In its deliberations on the evidence gathered, your Committee made the following recommendations:-
- The prison infrastructure needs a complete overhaul so that it can meet the required security standards of modern day Maximum Security Prisons.
- There is need to timeously disseminate security information to
lower ranks so as to avoid loss of lives and incurring unnecessary costs in repairs and damage.
- There is need to replace the blankets that were burnt and Treasury has to avail the requisite resources.
- There is need to adhere to the stipulated prisons dietary scale and where shortages are looming, prison authorities should endeavour to come up with initiatives that would see the utilization of prison farms to maximum use so that they are self sufficient in terms of providing food for inmates in the country’s prisons.
- There is need for the training of the special tactics team to handle any possible future attempts to break out by prisoners.
- There is need to upgrade the security system which remains a challenge due to inadequate funding.
- There is need to have simulations that would involve other sister intelligence units for effective rapid response to threats.
- There is need for the reintroduction of a Special Tactics Force at the prison to be always on standby for such eventualities.
- The issue of overcrowding has to be addressed as a matter of urgency since it poses a serious security threat and alternatively the possibility of another security prison should be considered as a way of decongesting prisons.
- Government Protective Security Inspectorate should regularize the monitoring of Institutions such as prisons since these are deemed high security areas.
9.1 Having received oral evidence from the Deputy Commissioner General A.H Machingauta and Superintendent Marange who was the Officer-in-Charge at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, your
Committee found some inconsistencies which had to be clarified. 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. However, your Committee would like to give Deputy Commissioner Machingauta the benefit of the doubt as he remained consistent in the evidence that he gave during the two oral evidence sessions that he was required to attend.
9.2 Your Committee would like to urge the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services to consider the findings, observations and recommendations contained in this report as a way of mitigating the challenges that may have given rise to the attempted jailbreak.
HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. In seconding
this report I am going to touch on a few issues that may not have been mentioned directly in the report but that were part of the evidence that we gathered. What was most important during our visit to Chikurubi Prison and during the interview that we conducted with Deputy Commissioner General Machingauta was that the main cause behind the security breach at Chikurubi Maximum Prison was food shortages or non availability of it. On the days leading up to this riotous situation at Chikurubi on the 12th of February, 2015, the senior officials in charge of the maximum prison were notified by the prisoners that they had grievances pertaining to food availability.
What they are supposed to receive as prisoners is as follows: they are supposed to have a cup of tea in the morning with one large slice of bread or they are given porridge, this was not happening at Chikurubi Maximum Prison. They are supposed to have sadza in the afternoon with vegetables and in the evening they are supposed to have sadza with beans, again this was not available at Chikurubi Maximum Prison. They are supposed to eat meat at least twice a week but what was happening at Chikurubi is that they had not had meat for over two years according to the records. This actually is what motivated most of the prisoners if not all of them after having given notice at least a month before the riotous situation, to actual engage in riotous behaviour.
Mr. Speaker the other problem that we found was that they are no security cameras for the officers in charge of prisoners to be able to monitor the activities of the prisoners. So, in other words unless they physically went to inspect and this can be done maybe once or in two hours or once in six hours. The conditions inside the prison itself were deplorable. For example, up to the third floor, there is no water supply. The prisoners have to carry buckets that have been donated by the nongovernmental organisations to the third floor and the supply of water is actual out of a charitable act by the International Red Cross to provide water to the prisoners otherwise our own systems that were there prior to this being done could not supply water to Chikurubi Prison. So, you can imagine the conditions under which the prisoners were surviving. On the day of the riot, the attempted jail break, the officer that was in charge of D-class prisoners, those that are serving 10 years or more, had to use a cell phone to phone the officer in charge, the Deputy Commissioner General to come urgently to the Prison Complex. That was his own private cellphone. The land lines in prison are not working and one observation that did not really amuse some of us as Committee members was that in their administration offices inside the prison, the picture of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe was not there. Yet in any
Government office you are supposed to at least have a picture of the
Head of State in the administrative office.
So what was evident Mr. Speaker Sir, is that the general administration of the prison was not being supervised by the senior authorities. I remember after the visit, meeting with the CommissionerGeneral in charge of prison who was asking what was happening to the meat of cattle being slaughtered. This meat belongs to the prison farms.
In other words, he was not aware of what was happening on the ground. Therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important that our recommendations should be recognised and are implemented. Mr. Speaker Sir, as part of the Committee that visited there was no evidence that proved that the attempted prison break was to embarrass the President while he was in Japan. We could not find any evidence but it was an allegation that came from Deputy Commissioner Machingauta, which is why in our report, you find that we did mention that there were inconsistencies in his submissions that we also wanted to examine. He had also alleged that there was a woman who was coming into the prison complex to gather information and then feed the prisoners with information in order to promote that riotous behaviour. But, there was no evidence that we gathered during the submissions. What happened was that the Officer in Charge of the Prison, Senior Officer Pambai did indicate that the real cause of the riotous situation was actually the shortage of food or non availability of it. As I have explained, their diet was clearly defined and there was no such diet being provided to the prisoners.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the other issue that arose is that this week we had a response from the Minister of Agriculture that the prison farms are being supplied with mechanization. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker Sir, this is not correct. The submissions that we had is that there is no equipment but they have got very nice farms in Hurungwe, Gweru and around Harare. However, these farms are not being cultivated. They have got the labour but what is happening is that the labour is not being utilised. That poses a security threat when food is not there. You are likely to get problems of the nature that we experienced at Chikurubi Maximum
Generally, we would like to appeal in our report to the Ministry of Agriculture to avail to the Prison Services tractors as well as seed and fertilizers so that the prisoners who are serving long term sentences as those in Chikurubi are actually utilised and go and farm. For example, in Hurungwe there is a very big dam that is next to the prison complex and water is not being utilised. So it is one of those areas that Mr. Speaker Sir, our recommendations are saying let us utilise those farms to produce food for themselves and to be able to sell that food on the market and provide for their own budget through their own efforts. I here that Hon. Chinotimba is saying I am a candidate for going to prison and he is also a candidate for going there -[Laughter]- since he is going to be engaging in a long kiss tomorrow evening.
In our recommendations on remedial action, we did observe the way the food that they eat is being prepared. The pots were not in a good condition to be used for cooking. For example, the pots that they were using to cook their sadza had holes in some parts and they were using firewood which was not readily available. So they start preparing for evening meals at 8 a.m. because they do not have electricity, they use fire wood. When you look at the fence that surround Chikurubi Maximum Prison, it is falling down. So when these prisoners managed to climb up the wall they would have escaped with ease. There was no evidence Mr. Speaker Sir, that they were arrangements for a pick-up if the prisoners had managed to escape. So, the whole story about attempted Maximum Prison break would have been a fallacy against the background that there were no get-away cars or anything that we got as evidence when we visited. Inside the prison itself, besides non availability of water, the prisoners do not have any mattresses they sleep of the floor to such an extent that the conditions inside the prison, the prison officer decides to release all the prisoners onto an open yard as a matter of being humane towards the prisoners. For example, the toilet facilities have no privacy, the dining facilities have very little in terms of facilities that make them conducive. Bearing in mind that Mr. Speaker Sir, this is not only a prison but a correctional service area. We believe a lot of improvements can be done.
When we looked at clothing that the prisoners were wearing only those prisoners who were on death row had adequate clothing and this was in May and it was very cold. The rest of the prisoners had torn shorts and torn shirts. They were tattered and torn; that is the description that is appropriate. We wondered why those who were on death row were the only ones that were smartly dressed and they had jerseys as well. May be they were living the best of their last before facing the death, we do not know, but the general picture that we got out of the Prison Complex was that the conditions are very poor. We came across a sick prisoner who was covered in blankets but the appropriate action to take when you have a sick prisoner is to take them to a prison hospital. This is not being done. That is why Mr. Speaker, you heard me pointing out that supervision by seniour personnel appears to be very lackluster at the Chikukubi Maximum Prison. I can safely say the conditions at the Chikurubi Maximum Prison are worse than what they were when His Excellency was a prisoner at that prison. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- from the pictures that I saw. Mr. Speaker Sir, we need as legislatures to ensure that there is an improvement in the conditions under which we keep prisoners and especially when the aims and objectives are to act as a correctional service since we are now vying for the removal of the death sentence. These people have to go back to our communities and we should not sentence them to death through the conditions that we expose them to. But, we should be able to look after them so that they regret the offences that they would have committed. They should be re-engaged into society after they have served their terms of prison. Otherwise what is happening at the moment is we have sentenced all prisoners in Maximum Prisons to death. Recalling that a few years ago they were also victims of cholera because of the unhealthy conditions under which they are kept.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to say, let us look into the real problems that caused the commotion at Chikurubi Maximum Prison and make correctional measures that will ensure that we look after our prisoners as prisoners not as death row inmates. I thank you Mr.
Speaker. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, I do not want to appear as if I am repeating what the Hon. Chair of the Committee has already presented and what has been highlighted by Hon. Chimanikire. But, I would like to make very few comments perhaps on the conditions in our prisons which we visited as a Committee. I would like to look at the inconsistencies that came as a result of the oral evidence that was given before your Committee. I want to make a comment on that. Mr. Speaker Sir, the time that we visited the prison at Wha Wha, the situation that we found there can best be described as deplorable at that material time and I want to believe the Commissioner General of Prisons and Correctional Services has taken a leaf from what we saw. I want to strongly believe that there is an improvement. If there is no improvement, I think this Committee again is challenged to make a follow up and see whether the conditions have improved because the conditions that we saw there were quite inhuman to say the least Mr.
The prisoners that we met, definitely speaking, yes some of them were not properly dressed. There were inadequacies in terms of their clothes. There inadequacies in terms of mattresses and blankets and it would appear that we came face to face with prisoners that were not very well in terms of their health. Some appeared to be very ill maybe because of the conditions that we saw.
From a security point of view, the Chikurubi Maximum Prison has very limited security gadgets, if any. Our observation was that there are no modern security gadgets that would assist the prison officers to be able to understand and appreciate what is taking place within the prison complex. This inadequacy comes - from our point of view, on account of inadequate funding by the relevant Department and Ministry. We call upon the Government to ensure that there is adequate funding so that the Prison Department is able to clothe our prisoners.
We need to take note that a prisoner is a human being and we need also to take note that these prisons were constructed at a time when the system that was there when it was Rhodesia, was brutal, especially towards the black majority. So, there was this element of wanting to punish the black majority who were fighting against the system that was there because it was oppressive.
Since we attained Independence we have never made efforts to make sure that we improve and upgrade infrastructure or perhaps to build several new prisons so that we can properly accommodate our prisoners - those that are found on the wrong side of the law. It is very important for this august House to understand that we can also be potential candidates for prisons. So, if conditions do not improve, the day we find ourselves there, we will cry foul. So, it is important that the
Government of Zimbabwe improves our prisons. We need that upgrade.
On inconsistency, in terms of the evidence that was given, we were made to understand that this incident was politically motivated from the evidence that was brought before the Committee. We want to strongly dispute this assertion. There was nothing that would point to the fact that the jailbreak happened as a result of politics. We found no grain of truth in that piece of evidence.
What we discovered as a Committee was that the attempted jailbreak was as a result of the conditions at Chikurubi Maximum Prison. It was as a result of lack of food. I do not believe that if I commit an offence and I am penalised to go to prison for a month or two, I must be denied my right to food and water. So, we want to challenge the Department, the Ministry and Government that prisoners need to be treated as human beings. Of course the element of rehabilitation - correcting their behaviour, and the element of reintegrating them into society, so we should actually as a Government move to adopt a system which is prison friendly, unlike the system that used to exist during the colonial era.
With those words Mr. Speaker Sir, I would want to summarily buttress what Hon. Chimanikire has rightly out in his debate and in his discussion. I support the points that he brought before this august House and also what has been clearly articulated by the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee. I thank you.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank the Committee for the report that it tabled on the state of our prisons. This has deeply touched me because I was looking at, if things happen and people are truthful about it, it can be addressed. On the issue of attempted jailbreak we had been told about Gumbura being involved but for us as people who are legislators we end up taking up the wrong issues. The truth needs to be brought out in the open and discussed in order to address the situation.
The issue of food was the main reason for the attempted jailbreak.
I was looking at China where there are so many prisoners such that in Beijing there are over 20 million inmates. What China did was that they came up with measures to ensure that they engage in farming, not only for their own but also to feed the country. If we look at Zimbabwe, we have farms belonging to ARDA and those farms are lying idle. Those people in the prisons should engage minimum tillage in order to grow food and that will assist in terms of food security in the country. So, I see it as others who are employed by the Government to run such institutions need to be conscientised because these are issues which we are failing to address but are easy to address.
China is also taking its inmates not for them to stay in jails but they are coming to Africa and they are engaging in mining and other activities including buildings that they are constructing but we are keeping 2000 prisoners in jails and they are doing nothing. This is
where as a nation we need to consider how we can develop our nation Zimbabwe before we bring in issues that are false. If we consider other countries such as Taiwan and Dubai where we get our clothes from, the Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprise Development has information that people who are inmates are good at tailoring and they can actually sew clothes for the inmates who are in jails. They can also engage in tailoring for our various shops for the country to develop but we are seen importing clothes from other countries. So, those in the jails should undergo training at Vocational Training Centres and engage in skills to develop the country.
When we look at women in the jails, they do not get sanitary wear and they end up using tissues and yet those tissues also have certain chemicals that cause infection. If we look at women who are inmates, they take the blankets that they use to cover themselves as sanitary wear. These are the blankets that are rarely washed and when they use these they are prone to infections which cause cancer. Such issues are things that hurt us. I looked at machines that produce sanitary pads, these are not expensive but in this country we take a lot of time looking at the inmates and securing them without doing anything. So, I think we need legislation so that the Government will not only look at the budget in terms of food. Other governments are buying grinding machines to produce wheat to give to their people. So, I think, we need to seriously look into these issues and find ways of assisting the inmates.
We have another issue that is before us of livestock in Bulawayo that now only costs $5.00. I was looking at the fact that if we take the hides and give them to inmates, they can tan and export them. Can we not use our resources to develop our country? I am looking at the resources that we have. We can take a few inmates to Matabeleland to cut grass that we can sell as hay. I am saying as Zimbabweans, we are failing to come up with means of addressing these issues because we are using only 0.05% of our brains. Even peanut butter could be produced in maximum prisons as most inmates are incarcerated for ten years. It would be better if we would stop councils from employing sweepers but use those inmates to ensure that we do not waste any money.
So, Mr. Speaker, the issue that was brought before us by the Committee is very important. I think that we need to seriously look into it and ensure that the prison administrators appear before us and we work together to ensure that they are able to feed inmates. If you look at the Chinese people who are here, most of them are former inmates. When I went to Nigeria, I also discovered that the Chinese were also there around the Niger Delta region. Some of the money that they acquire is sent back to develop their country. So, whoever becomes a prisoner in China is taken to another country to go and work in the construction industry. Once you enter the prisons in China, you are taught how to build and provide cheap labour wherever there is construction work.
We should not be engaging in Tenders to get people to build because we already have cheap labour that is available. This report that was tabled before us is very good and has deeply touched us. We do not know how to address it. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir, let me thank the Committee for the report but particularly also thank Hon. Mapiki for raising issues around women in such a good way. It makes a big difference when men speak to some of these issues.
I just have a few issues that I would like to raise. The first one, I think, was raised by Hon. Chimanikire and I think it is a real issue that we have to worry about. The issue is, should there not be a difference between what those prisons looked like before we attained Independence and what they look like now? Our understanding is that before we attained Independence, those whites were generally abusive to us so we should be able to see those prisons being different because the experiences that our leaders went through should push them into making things different.
I am glad that Hon. Mapiki mentioned that we are all candidates for prison. Mr. Speaker, I never thought I would see the day when the Prosecutor General is sitting behind a truck, for example, being taken to court. That, in itself, speaks to where we all could be, depending on what is happening in our lives. I am glad that as we debate this, we all understand that we could be in a prison one way or the other but like I said, the underlying factor is that we cannot continue to be part of the system or continue with a system that was used by our oppressors. We should ensure that the system is different.
The second issue that I would like to raise and was conferring on with Hon. Chimanikire because I was asking him whether they had actually visited the women’s’ side of Chikurubi Maximum Prison. He said there were no women inmates at the time the Committee visited Chikurubi prison. I think that is an unfortunate thing because the concerns raised by Hon. Mapiki would have been clearly put across if they had met women inmates.
Let me just give you a very dramatic example. When you go to male prisoners, they do not necessarily have to wear underwear because organically, a man can walk around without underwear. You cannot ask the same for a woman because at the end of the day, it is problematic for a woman to move around without panties. Otherwise we would all be coming here without panties but we cannot because generally, our anatomy is made up in such a way that we cannot move around without panties. What is actually happening with women prisoners is because we have a shortage. You are talking about shortage of shirts and shorts but with women it is shortage of underpants. So, not only do they have to go through what Hon. Mapiki said whilst they are having their menstrual flows. They have to endure that without sanitary wear or panties and I think it is just inhuman. We cannot treat people by dehumanizing them to that level.
The Committee, as a matter of urgency, should try and find a way of revisiting Chikurubi Maximum prison this time particularly to look at the gender aspect of the prisons. I think, if we are talking of men being in more problems then let us talk about what women are going through. Every other month, I will not stop speaking on the menstrual issue because I believe the more we hit on it, the more men begin to understand.
When a woman is going through her menstrual period, it is just not the blood that is coming out but the pain that comes with that blood. I always ask myself whether that is taken into consideration when you a woman prisoner? Does somebody understand that if you are having dysmenorrhea, sometimes it is difficult to come and sit here because the pain is just unbearable? It means every other month a woman is not only going through menstrual periods, without panties, in pain and is never provided with pain killers.
Ask any other woman in this House who is still having their period, we are lining up at the clinic to ask for Panadols or something to ease the pain so that we are able to operate in this House. If I do not take pain killers, I am not able to function … – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection] – Yes, so you literally have to have painkillers for a woman, every other month, who is in that prison. I am not talking about what happens as you grow older because you become feverish and all sorts of things happen due to hormonal changes. I am sure Hon. Dr.
Labode would be able to explain better from a medical point of view.
But because some hormonal issues are happening within your body, so many things happen during that particular time yet no one considers the fact that women have to go through that.
The last point that I want to raise and for me, that is the most painful point. Mr. Speaker, the children of women prisoners have to be incarcerated with them. So when a woman is a prisoner, the child is also a prisoner, there is no facility that says we have a specific facility here for children. Even as the mothers are incarcerated they do not have an opportunity to go and be with their children and allow children an environment grow.
Pre-school for example, just to get them to begin to develop. You are denying a child the development that any other child who is outside prison is having. This child is being taken on and is suffering for the sins of the mother that have nothing to do with him/her. So, if she is inside and needs to breastfeed, they are also inside. This is why I am saying the Committee needs to go back and focus on the issues that are to do with women prisoners. When we talk about prisoners, in our minds, we tend to think that the only people that are imprisoned are men and not necessarily women. This is why for the majority of those women, it is very difficult when they get out to be rehabilitated because a lot of them have to suffer a lot of depression while they sit in those prisons.
If you were to look at the records of the women who are in prison, most of the crimes that they are going in for, very few are to do with robbery or so on. Most of the crimes are mostly to do with either they are victims of violence and were responding to that violence or dumping a baby. It is all to do with their social way of living and their womanhood and the things that they have to do because they are female. They go into prison, instead of feeling differently about what is going on, they actually get even worse. To get them out of that space and to begin to rehabilitate them so that they can go back to normal becomes more and more difficult.
I am glad that we have a Committee that decided to spend a bit of time there and I hope they also spent a bit of time also going to the cells.
I know because I was arrested and put in a cell for four days so I know how difficult it was for me to be told as a woman in a cell to go there, urinate, do poop and whatever it is when everybody is watching you. I have always said somebody has to tell me why somebody thought of dehumanising a person to the level where they literally have to do poop when somebody is looking at them. For four days, I could not do it. My system just clamped up because I just could not understand how I could go there and do poop. I then told myself not to eat because nothing would then come out of my system.
To continue to think that today so many years after independence we are still subjecting our people to that level of dehumanisation says to me, we probably do not understand that the struggle was actually about changing the lives of the people. We think it was merely about changing the colour of who was oppressing who and replacing that person with a black skin and continuing with the way that we always did business. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
* HON. RUNGANI: I want to add my voice to the debate and I am a member of the Committee chaired by Hon. Muderedzwa on the issue of the attempted jail-break. This was not true because when we investigated, we realised that there was no way that people could have escaped. If we put our prisoners at Chikurubi, the prison officers should do their duties and ensure that they monitor what the prisoners are eating and how they are settled. When people are arrested and taken to Chikurubi, it is supposed to be a correctional service centre and people should be able to re-integrate into society. That is not happening.
What is actually worsening their conduct is because of the challenges that they meet and this is very inhumane. What I am saying is that this major prison of ours, Chikurubi, the way it was built is amazing. The smaller prisons are actually better off. If you go to Mutimurefu in Masvingo, it is better placed and you cannot compare it to Chikurubi where our people are taken. I want to urge the prison officers, especially those at a higher level, to ensure that they perform their duties well to improve the conditions at Chikurubi. If you look at the ceiling at Chikurubi, if the inmates wanted to escape, they would have escaped. So, what I urge is that if we are given duties to do, we do them diligently.
We talk of ZIM ASSET, this is where ZIM ASSET should be working because the inmates should be taught to use their hands and engage in skills development in order to become self-sufficient and look after their families. Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, I want to support you because you end up insane whilst in prison. I want to end up by saying that those women who are imprisoned should be given work to do. There are people who are good at knitting and others with different skills.
People come from various places here in Harare to get their hair plaited. So we must teach them how to fend for themselves when they leave prison and that will be a way of giving them correctional service.
At Chikurubi, food is cooked in the morning and it dries up but they are given the same food in the evening. When we look at health issues, we say people should not eat cold food. I feel the food should be cooked at appropriate times like in the afternoon and then they can be served for supper. We should not have the mindset that if we send people to prison, they will return as corpses but we must teach them to engage in productive work to look after themselves. Those who gave oral evidence gave false information. What we want is that if the Ministry is given duties, it should perform its duties diligently. I thought maybe I would add my voice to the report presented by my Committee.
HON. MARIDADI: Mr. Speaker, Nelson Mandela the former President of South Africa said, the character of a state is defined by the way you look after your prisoners. That is what defines the character of a state. The 16th President of United States, Abraham Lincoln said, ‘a country cannot endure when a portion of its population is living in abject slavery’, and he was talking about people that were in prison after the war of liberation. There are three groups of people in the Bible that the Lord proclaims are His people. In the book of Exodus, Chapter 19, widows – [HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Isusu.] –, orphans
and prisoners, and the Lord says, do not afflict prisoners for one day you shall also be prisoners – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]. He also says, do not afflict orphans and widows because if you do that and they cry aloud, I hear their cries, I will also kill you and your children will be orphans and your wives will be widows.
When people go to prison, it is for rehabilitation but what you must also remember is that when a person is in prison, the propensity for getting out of prison is very high. There is an appetite to go out there because there is freedom out there. When there was that attempted prison break, I have an article here that was written by a journalist called Veneranda Langa of the Daily News because she was capturing what transpired in this Parliament. “Member of Parliament for Zengeza West, Simon Chidhakwa asked about the prison break and the response that was given by the Leader of the House was that, Robert Martin Gumbura who is serving a 40 year jail term was behind the prison break. He was chairing a committee of inmates that then led to the prison break but what the Committee is now reporting is that Martin Gumbura had nothing to do with what happened on that particular day. What it means is that there are people who are working for the Zimbabwe Prison Service who deliberately misinformed the Vice President of the nation. When you deliberately misinformed the Vice President of a nation, for me, that is treason. It is a treasonable offence because you cannot misinform the Vice President of a nation who then comes to Parliament and misinforms the nation.
Mr. Speaker, I was reading a book called ‘The Kevin Hood Story’, written by Kevin Wood who was imprisoned at Chikurubi for 20 years and another book written by Simon Mann who was also imprisoned at Chikurubi. In both books, they talk about the likelihood of a prison riot and a prison break because of shortage of food. Actually Kevin Hood is the only person who documents the prison break by Edgar Masendeke, Steven Chidhumo and Elias Chauke in 1995. He says, when there was that prison break, it was because of the shortage of food, the conditions in prison and Masendeke and Chidhumo realised that when people get paid, which is usually on the 24th or 25th of a month, prison officers get drunk on the day that they get paid. They get so excited and they get drunk. So they put their guard down. These prisoners said to people outside just inform us as to when you will get paid and were told that this month we get paid on the 24th, then they organized for their jail break on the 24th. They knew that jail guards would come late, half drunk and on the change-over when one shift is changing to another shift, that is when they broke out and ran away.
I remember, because when they broke out, they ran through Mabvuku/Tafara and into nowhere. I remember it was just a hive of activity. It was frenzy all over, police dogs, the prison warden, soldiers, you name them, all over the suburb looking for these three.
Mr. Speaker, I want to focus my attention on two issues, the first one on people that lie to the nation about causes of events. Every one country has prisoners and I am at a loss to relate how the attempted jail break should be connected to a presidential visit to a foreign country. There is no connection whatsoever and the person who gave that information is a Deputy Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Prison Service and he is still serving up to this day. He informs the nation that no, this prison break had nothing to do with anything but people were just trying to embarrass the President, which is a lie and that person is still serving.
Mr. Speaker, I think this person should be called to come before Parliament, he must be charged and dismissed because he unnecessarily brought the name of the Head of State into disrepute, for whatever reason I do not know. He calls false alarm for nothing.
Mr. Speaker, I want to wrap my discussion by saying that what Hon. Mapiki has suggested of looking after prisoners and as a way of raising money and food for prisoners is well received. That is what should be done. I get so embarrassed when I am parking my vehicle there. I see inmates that come and clean this place and some of them will be wearing work suits inscribed Mobil or ZESA. What it means is that their relatives have taken work suits from their workplace to give to prisoners. None of them would be wearing shoes. They are either wearing mapatapata or rafters and you would say, is this how we look after our prisoners.
People went to prison during the liberation war including His
Excellency the President. When he came out of prison, he was a proud holder of seven university degrees. Only one of those degrees, he went to Fort Hare University for and that was English Literature and History. The other degrees, including law, he did them in prison. This means that the condition in prison was such that he was able to read.
Hon. Mnangagwa spent ten years of his precious life in prison after he had started law. He came out of that prison with his sanity. Imagine today if someone were to go to prison under these conditions, it is very unlikely that after ten years, you would come out of that prison with your sanity intact.
In conclusion, I want to say we need to put money into looking after prisoners. We are not saying prisoners should live a luxurious life as if they are in five star hotels. I always watch the programme called CI on television where they talk about criminal investigations in the United States and the conditions of the jail. It is criminal offence when you lock somebody up and you are not able to give them three square meals. You are not able to provide them with breakfast, lunch and supper because they are constitutional rights. These are rights that are enshrined in the Constitution. In this country, as the Hon. Member has said, food is cooked in the morning. Actually prisoners prepare their own food using newspapers and plastics and the left over is kept there. If it is not finished, it is the same food that they will eat tomorrow but the sadza has got rocks, mapundu. If you go through it, you will see raw mealie-meal. I think as a country we can do better.
I want to rest my case and say those people that lied to the Vice President of the country and those that came and lied to the Committee, they were speaking under oath. When you lie under oath, lawyers call it perjury. When you present yourself and you are not presenting the truth but presenting to make it sound as if it is the truth, you are deliberately misinforming a Portfolio Committee after you have taken an oath that what you are going to say is the truth and nothing but the truth.
I think the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons must be summoned or the Committee must write to his authorities and he must be told to tender his resignation which his bosses must be able to accept. I thank you.
HON. DR. LABODE: I want to thank the Committee that
brought the plight of prisoners to this House and the plight of prison inmates. Mr. Speaker Sir, mine comes to the fact that there is ample evidence that shows that the HIV rate among prison men is higher than the national population outside. It is like there is something in prison that makes men multiply when they get in relation to HIV incidents. The women remain the same. The women prisoners have the same incidents as the women outside. Also the numbers of men who are taken to hospitals like Mpilo and Harare, who have sours or what we call chancroid, which is an STD of the anus, has increased. This is evidence that men in prison are having sex with each other, yet as a people, we have decided to close our eyes and pretend that this thing is not happening. We are forgetting that those men come out and meet the innocent wife who is at home and infect that woman. We need to seriously, as a Government, say we do not agree with this thing but we have evidence that it is happening; here are condoms and ARVs, so that if those men are using condoms, they will come out clean. The fact that vakadzi are still lower than varume, zvinotaura mhani. There is something very wrong. Let us introduce condoms in prisons.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let us not pretend it is not happening. It is happening and there is hard evidence on the ground. You speak to the National Aids Council, they will tell you that we know it is happening but as Parliamentarians, push for condoms because maoko edu akasungwa. As Zimbabweans, we like pretending and I think it is high time that we hold the bull by its horns and say we are attacking this thing. That is all I want to say.
HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this very pertinent discussion. I would like to thank the Portfolio Committee which brought this serious matter.
The hon. members who have spoken before me all spoke very well and have brought in the proper issues. I am going to take another angle which I think I have observed several times when I visited these prisons. It has been alluded to already that these inmates are human and therefore should be treated with that dignity but I have realised that the prison officers themselves do not treat inmates like they are human beings. This has caused these kinds of turmoils.
They have spoken about the attempted jail breaks and stuff like that being caused by food shortages and other things – but also Mr. Speaker Sir, how do you feel when you are a normal adult; yes of course you are in prison, being subjected to treatment like you are probably nothing or a child. I have always wondered why if you look at prisoners, when they come to a certain door, they are made to kneel or lie down but they are human beings. This is being done by the prison wardens. Why are they treating people as if they are nothing? This has psychological effects. People will end up wanting to revolt against that system. It is very imperative that the authorities of prison are shown and taught that this is a normal human being. Besides that, are you aware Mr. Speaker
Sir, that 75% or so of those inmates did not commit those crimes at all. They are there for reasons that they do not even know. Whilst they are in there they are being subjected to inhumane treatment by the wardens. It is very wrong Mr. Speaker.
While we talk of food, it is important but less us also talk about the treatment of these people. They must be treated with respect so that they feel and know that they are still part of a system and a society. They have gone in there but they must be rehabilitated. But how do you rehabilitate somebody when you undermine them so much that when they are talking to you they must be kneeling down? Why? We are all human beings. In the colonial era, we were meant to kneel down to the white people but this has been carried on by our own fellow black brothers and sisters.
I am saying that these wardens must learn to treat inmates as human. They must know that tomorrow it could be them inside there. How will they feel to kneel down? Why are they making someone kneel down? I think it is very improper. Let us treat people with the dignity that they deserve then they will not think of rioting or breaking those jails. They will go there and know that they are in prison to serve their sentence and once that is done, they will go back and be rehabilitated and go back to society.
The emphasis on the diet Mr. Speaker Sir – most of these prisons have got farms. When the money comes, let us concentrate on income generating projects in those prisons. I can envisage a situation whereby probably at Khami Prison, there is a vast piece of land there. Why do they not build poultry runs and rear broilers or layers? Prisoners will then start having a proper diet because they will have the eggs there for breakfast. They will be able to have chicken relish because they will be rearing chickens in prisons.
I have always wondered why their day ends so early. I think their day ends at about three o’clock. They are shut down to go and sleep yet they can go out and do productive work, feed themselves and sell the excess outside. That way, we will have a balanced diet in prisons and we have prisoners that are eating properly and respected by the wardens as well.
Let the Prison Wardens respect those inmate, they are human.
When they do that, things are going to be proper. I thank you Mr.
THE HON. SPEAKER: May I ask hon. members to avoid
repetition because it is against our Standing Orders.
HON. HOLDER: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this noble debate. I would like to thank Hon. Muderedzwa and his team that brought this to Parliament.
There are a few things that I want to raise. The first thing is; an angry man is a hungry man or a hungry man is an angry man. What has happened is that I have had the opportunity to visit the prison that is in
Zvishavane where I am a Member of Parliament. On several occasions, I have been called to step in and help feed inmates. If I approach companies or private organisations to try and source food to feed these prisoners, they say that is not their business.
Despite the fact that a person goes to prison because he did wrong, it is important for us not to violate human rights. We need to treat each other as human because when they go to prison, they come out and they are back in society. Some are our relatives or friends but what happens for them to get into prison is something which they must probably regret doing.
The previous speakers have spoken a lot but I have a few suggestions. We all know that Australia was built by prisoners. There is a lot of work that is available for prisoners. I feel that we have a lot of road carnage that happen on the highways simply because there are trees on the side of the road. There is grass on the side of the road and we keep debating saying where do we get money to cut trees or pay people yet we have got people sitting and waiting to be fed. When they are idle, this is when tricks start playing on their minds that we should break out.
Ever since we gained independence Mr. Speaker, there is not even one prison that we have built. We are relying on the prisons which the regime had built. The reason they had built these prisons is that they did not want people to go war. They would keep them there as ‘keeps’. If you notice all the prisons are within 20 kms of an army barrack. Wherever there is a prison, you know there is an army barrack somewhere nearby within 20 kms. Can I ask and say the best fertilizer for a farmer is his foot print, after planting; a farmer walks in the field studying his plants. Now, in the prisons, if we do not visit these prisons and see the situation there, we come here and debate about HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis but what are we doing as this august House? We need to put things into action Mr. Speaker Sir. I also feel that maybe we should also change the name from prison to correctional services. If we change the name it will change the person’s mentality.
There is also a saying that 90% of the children who grow up with their mothers in prison will also end up in prison. I feel the social welfare should come up with houses where these children can be kept and fed. We talk about mealie-meal, food and all the vegetarian staff, if prisoners are capacitated, are able to grow their own food but if you go to Harare prison, you find there is only chomolia and rape, they are not growing maize or any other staple food.
Mr. Speaker, I said earlier on that many a time I had to step in. I went to visit the prison in Zvishavane, there were no blankets, the blankets are worse than what my dogs have. There was no food; I have many a time sourced big bags of kapenta, a tone of maize to give the prisoners. However, we cannot carry on doing the same things; we should be able to teach them to be resourceful. We should be able to use the Ministries departments like the Ministry of Roads and Infrastructure and use these prisoners. Most of these Chinese people coming into our country are prisoners in China but they come here doing contracts, building our roads, bridges and yet we have our own prisoners sitting and doing nothing except planning how best they can break and get out.
Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take much of your time. I would like to thank the mover of the motion. It is important that we improve the situation in the prisons. I believe during the regime time, prisoners used to get soap, toothpaste but now there is nothing. I can imagine waking up in the morning; I cannot even open mouth before I brush my teeth, so, what about the prisoners out there. We see them here in the car park sweeping and cleaning, that is why around the Parliament building it is smart because the prisoners are doing the job for us. We can use these prisoners at different places and allocate that resource to correctional services. Thank you.
HON. E. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me
this opportunity to contribute to the debate. First and foremost I would like to thank your Committee for the detailed factual report on the situation at Chikurubi prison. The report details the deplorable inhuman conditions which the prisoners are subjected to. These deplorable conditions are lack of clothing and food, it is tantamount to a death sentence. We are subjecting them to a death sentence without officially pronouncing it; going to prison is as close as dying.
However, having said that, I will not go through the other topics that have been discussed, I would like to say it is up to us as Hon. Members, to come up with innovative solutions to these challenges that are before us and that is what I will contribute towards. We need to change the whole mindset about being in prison, change that mindset within our communities and the authorities, and understand the basis of going to prison. It is not to take away your human rights; it is only to deprive you of some privileges.
I will however point out what innovative solutions are there or my proposal for innovative solutions that I would like the House to think about and possibly adopt. Well if you think most people are able bodied, they can work; they are strong but when they go to prison, given the situation there, when they come out they will be weak, infected and wasted human beings. Is that the purpose why we want people to go to prison, that is why we must change our mindset on that. That is not what we want, we want somebody to be corrected and contribute to society.
First and foremost prisons should not be wards to incarcerate people – change your mind about that. Yes, for the dangerous D-classes, let us convert all these prisons to only hold D-class prisons so they will be enough space and there will not be houses that will be overcrowding. The rest of the prisoners in the other three categories as was mentioned should be moved close to production centres where they can have none crowded conditions, where they can produce for the nation and also for themselves.
I will give a few examples, in Matabeleland, we have the Zambezi water project, a noble idea that could save the country and turn it into a green belt on that area. We also have something unique there, an ecological challenge overpopulated with elephants. I think if we get the tool, you can see people who can work on the project, they can be cunning and there is overpopulation of the elephants we could help feed them. I understand they get no meat but we could control our elephant population by doing something good to our country. That is a national project of big priority and I think the nation will benefit from that.
On the theme of moving prisoners close to production, we got plenty of water in the Zambezi basin; I think the First Lady, amai Dr. G. Mugabe, visited a big irrigation scheme in Binga, we could produce 10 of those just along the Zambezi basin, there is water and everything else. Those prisoners can produce for the whole country, for all the other prisons if we just move them. They will not be crowded because they
will be working, housed in a human way but producing. This is what I am advocating by saying let us change our mindset completely on that.
There is also the issue that we always talk about prisoners, one way or the other not having clothes and other things – we identify the skills that will help alleviate the problems. If we feel we need clothes let us train some prisoners to be tailors, we just have to talk to David Whitehead, give them a small amount of money to produce the material so that they sew their own clothes. We need to think need to think not outside the box when it comes to prisoners. Thank you.
HON GABBUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me the
chance to raise a few issues. May I subscribe to all the contributions that have been made by the other speakers but save to say how I wish Mr. Speaker the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, was around to listen to this debate, be that as it may, I am sure he is going to read the Hansard. I press upon you Mr. Speaker, to ensure that we invoke some sections of the Standing Rules and Orders to persuade the Minister to respond to some of these pertinent issues that have been raised by Hon. Members. I am sure that this is one motion that we should not allow to just go away and be closed without the Minister responding. The issues that have been raised have been raised before and these are not very difficult issues. I am sure in his response, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs might argue about financial resources to try and improve some of the conditions.
However, Mr. Speaker, some of the things do not require money at all. For example, if a prisoner is made to sleep in the toilet and you will be very unlucky if you are imprisoned on the day with some inmates suffering from diarrhoea. They will mess up the whole room because the toilets are inside, where you sleep and when they are flushed, they are flushed the next day from outside. That is how some of our prisons are designed. I am sure that does not cost a lot of money, to demarcate between the toilet and the sleeping areas. If one wants to flush, it has to be flushed from inside, why should it be from outside? Certainly, Mr. Speaker, I would need the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, to respond to the issues that I and many others have raised.
The issue of prison guard relations does not require money. I went to see my uncle at one of the prisons. You get there by the gate, he is called out, ‘Mr. Silvester Mudenda come out, you have a visitor.’ When he comes out, he is an adult, he is older than me, he is made to stoop, to kneel down. Even the response, you do not just respond, you have to say shefu, or nkosi or mambo to a small boy, maybe the age of your daughter or son. You have to respond in a manner that denigrates you, brings you so low. When he comes, he remains seated there and the guard is standing, he is given instructions and at times for the duration that you have to see him. I am sure some of the things do not require money.
Mr. Speaker, there are issues like, when the prisoners have been working from outside, they move into the prison. While they get in, they are made to remove their clothes, these are the things that happen in prison. Whilst they are naked, they are made to bend whilst they inspect them from behind to ensure that they are not hiding anything, cigarettes or anything. Adults being made to bend whilst naked so that they are checked from behind, these are things that do not require money. Why can we not change all these kinds of dehumanising behaviour?
Furthermore, why should we restrict visitors? I am raising these things so that the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs will be able to respond to some of these things. What is so dangerous if a prisoner is allowed so many visitors because that person is in solitary confinement, he is lonely. He is already under punishment by not seeing relatives. However, if he is allowed one visitor per month or per week, I think it makes his condition even worse.
If you bring food to a prisoner, you are made to eat it first before the prisoner can eat it. In some cases, you are not even allowed to bring food. We are saying there is shortage of food in prisons, but some prisons will not allow you to bring food for your relative. Mr. Speaker Sir, we need to understand, we have very educated leaders, Ministers and we are viewed as the most educated nation in Africa, we are number one, we are told. Why can we not move with time?
In other countries - other jurisdictions, they are even allowing prisoners to have their wives in the prison. You are given some time off and you go home. Once in a given duration you are allowed to go home for a few days, they know your addresses and they know there is no way you can run away. In some instances, once in a while you are allowed to have your wife to come into the prison, maybe you are given a special room to stay with her for one or two days. That is a progressive way of correctional services – [Laughter]
We must begin to think in that direction. We do not want to harden criminals, because that is what our prisons are doing. By treating them the way we are doing, we are hardening criminals and many people when they finally come out of prison, are worse off than they were before they got to prison. Mr. Speaker, I am sure that my plea, as indicated, could you ensure that the Minister of Justice responds to some of these issues. Some of these things do not require money, why is it so difficult, thirty something years after independence, to try and have a correctional service system? I thank you for that.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for allowing me to add my voice. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to touch on a few things that have not been touched. However, my predecessor touched on very key issues that we need to change our modus operandi and our mind set. We also need to change our laws.
Mr. Speaker Sir, a lot of Hon. Members have been talking about the male prison part, there is also the female prison for women criminals where they are incarcerated. Children are born in that set up. At one time I was…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, I said no repetition.
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga covered that one very adequately.
HON. NDUNA: Finally on that one Mr. Speaker, if we can have the right environment for those children born in prison. However, we can also utilise our prisoners in the same manner that the Chinese have done. They have imported their prison labour into Zimbabwe and they have made us proud in terms of infrastructure development.
Mr. Speaker, in the same way, we can utilise our prison manpower to produce a sperm bank. We also realise that there is appetite for sex and sexual intercourse…
THE HON. SPEAKER: I did not quite get it, to produce what?
HON. NDUNA: There are a lot of nations that are not endowed with productive human production Mr. Speaker – [Laughter] – we can also – seeing that we are not short of that as a nation, we can also produce a sperm bank from our prison population and then export our sperms to nations that are not endowed with either copulation ability or sex with production.
Mr. Speaker Sir, a lot of our laws have caused our prisons to be so much polluted, in particular laws to do with the mining sector. 60% of Chegutu is populated by the youthful population Mr. Speaker. As long as we do not have the resuscitation of David Whitehead, the alignment of our laws and the inhibitive laws of the mining sector, a lot of our youths are going to find themselves in prison.
One day I met a young man who is a prisoner at Chikurubi, he said to me, ‘do you remember me,’ I said no, I do not. He said ‘when you were campaigning in 2013, I was one of those youngsters who was arrested for prospecting because I was gold digging in a sector, in an unlicenced place. This is why I found myself being sentenced for 7 years imprisonment. However, ndirikubuda next year, please go and tell my parents that next year I will be out of prison. As long as we do not change our laws which are archaic, moribund, historic and legacyoriented Mr. Speaker Sir, a lot of Chegutu West youths are going to find themselves in prison. The youngsters will be subjected to those prison conditions and 60% of those will be from Chegutu.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as I wind up, I need to add my voice on issues to do with technology. We need technology in our prison set up so that we do not subject our prisoners to dehumanising arrangements such as what the Hon. Gabbuza has spoken about. Whilst we go through our checkpoint at the Airport, we do not remove our clothes. We just remove our keys, laptops and such other things. We should have such machines for our prisoners and scanners so that we are not dehumanising them. The last word that I got when I was in the army is that every man is close to the door of prison. Murume wese wese aripedyo nemukova wejeri. We should be cognisant of that fact and be knowledgeable of that. We should change our laws and our set up in prison as well as our infrastructure, knowing that each and every one of us could be in jail one day. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 16th February, 2016.
On the motion of HON. MATUKE, seconded by HON. D.
SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Eight Minutes past Five o’clock
p.m. until Tuesday, 16th February, 2016.