Victimisation of Junior Officers Continuing in Zimbabwe Prison Services

HARARE – Three Prison Officers stationed at Harare Central Prison have been summoned by Officer Commanding Mashonaland Region Assistant Commissioner Nelson Chikwature, to answer to allegations of publicly denouncing ZANU PF.

The officers were celebrating the inauguration of Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the subsequent awarding of USd 100 allowances to civil servants.

This is despite an order to senior officials by Zimbabwe Prisons Service Chief; Paradzai Zimondi two weeks ago, to stop victimising junior officers.

The prison officers, who spoke to RadioVOP on condition of anonymity, said have been summoned to the Officer Commanding’s office for the hearing on Monday. 

“We have been called in connection with statements we made last week when we were drinking at a prison bar. In fact we were celebrating having been paid for the first time after a long time of working for nothing. We never denounced any political party in the process as alleged,” said one of the said officers. 

Last week ZPS held a sports fund raising gala at Harare central Prison camp and it is at the venue where the three allegedly made the anti- ZANU PF utterances.

Zimbabwe Prison Services Chief, Paradzai Zimondi, on March 20 convened a meeting with all Officers-In-Charge and Commanding Officers as well as other senior officers at the Harare Central Prison complex, and instructed them to fully support the inclusive government.

“The commissioner told us that we should forget what happened in June 2008 because it was done for political reasons adding that we should inform our subordinates that the inclusive government is the only way of reconstructing the rundown nation and the ZPS,” said a Commanding Officer who declined to be named.

He said the commissioner noted with concern the continuous victimization of junior officers within the organization and reminded the senior officers that the time for such behaviour was over and that his anti Tsvangirai statements uttered last year were no longer valid.

“He also told us that the inclusive government is a reality and victimization should stop as it compromises development as stated in the GPA,” added the Commanding Officer.

Zimondi is on record as having said he would retire if Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the presidential election in last year’s March harmonized election.

“I would rather retire and go farming if Tsvangirai is elected President because I would have difficulty saluting a person who did not go to war,” Zimondi was quoted as having said last year while addressing Prison Officers in Harare.

Meanwhile there was free for all drama at Chesvingo Police base in Mucheke when residents, who were walking along Yomukono Street, in front of the police base on Sunday morning, refused to stop in respect of the raising of the national flag by a police detail.

Residents said it was ridiculous for them to stop and respect the raising of a tattered flag.

RadioVOP witnessed more than 20 people including children, shouting back at a police officer who had ordered them to stop and respect the proceedings.

“Unopenga unoda kuti timire iwe uchiturika mamvemve (You are mad, you want us to stop walking in respect of the raising of a tattered a flag?)  We used to respect this process but it is shameful for us to stand and honour that eyesore flag.

“If the police were serious, they would request a new flag on time rather than to raise such a shameful flag,” said one of the men who refused to stop.

When the police officer realised that the people who were passing by were not scared of him, he quietly proceeded to raise both the national and the Zimbabwe Republic Police flags while people were laughing at him.

The national flag at Chesvingo police base is now just a tattered piece of grey cloth, with the Zimbabwe bird no longer visible. It is now very difficult, especially for children, to distinguish it from an ordinary tattered piece of cloth.

However, a snap survey by RadioVOP in Masvingo revealed that it is not only the flag at Chesvingo Police, which is tattered, but at most government institutions.