A senior Prison officer at Harare Central Prison said prisoners who are hired by ZANU Pf top officials are paid in the form of a bar of soap and a single bottle of Vaseline for the labour rendered per week.
Twenty prisoners are usually released from Harare Central Prison daily to work for a single farmer.
“Slavery is still happening at our prisons, prisoners are being abused by these corrupt ZANU PF officials. Imagine a single bar of soap per week, which is not even given directly to them but to the organization. Some of the farmers who hire these inmates do not even give them food, and yet they demand their services, “said the senior Prison guard who declined to be named.
He said some of the farmers now demand the same prisoners, with Retired Army General Solomon Mujuru demanding the same ten inmates.
“The retired army chief recently bought ‘his ‘ten prisoners some blankets and donated some paint for a single cell where his inmates alone are now housed. These people are enslaving prisoners," said the guard.
The Zimbabwe Prison Service has been widely condemned by the public for failing to fully utilize vast lands it controls despite having the human resources and farm implements – donated by the Reserve bank governor Gideon Gono in recent years.
Meanwhile Karoi prison officials are appealing for donations after inmates’ blankets were gutted by fire.
The officials said all the blankets in cell number 14 were gutted last Friday after the inmates left a lit string hanging on he wall. The cell houses 35 inmates, all of whom are about to complete serving their sentences.
Prisoners who smoke during the night since they are not allowed to carry matches into the cells use the lit string, commonly known as a ‘chadhuva’.
"The fire was not caused by an electrical fault but by the recklessness of the inmates. We are appealing for prisoners’ blankets from inmates relatives and the public," one prison official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Radio VOP.
A Hurungwe woman who recently visited her convicted husband confirmed the appeal.
"I was told by prison officials to bring my husband some blankets. They indicated that inmates can now get blankets from their relatives during winter" said the woman.
Karoi prison officer-in charge Supt Christine Munhivi refused to comment on the issue when contacted for comment, although sources insist that she made a formal appeal to prison commissioner Paradzai Zimondi.