Crime Reporter
Security has been beefed up at all the country’s prisons following the food riots which occurred recently at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

The food riots left five inmates dead after they were shot while trying to escape and led to the destruction of property worth thousands of dollars.

Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services spokesperson Chief Superintendent Elizabeth Banda-Karinda yesterday confirmed the tightening of security at the facilities.

“We will continue keeping up with our mandate and our mandate is to protect society from criminal elements,” she said.

“Even when the food riots started, the first thing that we did was to cordon the whole prison and the area to ensure that no prisoner would escape.”

Chief Supt Banda-Karinda said they would continue beefing up security at the country’s prisons. Jailed RMG Independent End Time Message leader Robert Martin Gumbura allegedly masterminded the food riots with the intention of escaping, together with eight other inmates.

The nine have since appeared in court facing several charges, including attempting to escape from prison.

Gumbura allegedly told other inmates that they were foolish for not breaking windowpanes to escape in protest against poor food at the prison.

When the nine appeared in court, the State contended that Gumbura’s utterances incited other inmates to go on a rampage, especially when he told them that in South Africa prisoners wouldn’t stand such a situation and would have escaped. The State papers indicated that during disturbances on March 13 as the prisoners attempted to escape, some of them were shot by the Police Support Unit after they scaled the roof.

Gumbura’s accomplices are Lucky Matambanadzo (39), Blessing Chauke (25), Lucky Mhungu (38), Taurai Dodzo (47), Thomas Chacha (37), Thulani Chizema (32), Jacob Sibanda (28) and Elijah Vhumbunu (38).

One of the five inmates who were shot and killed after ignoring warning shots by security officers during the food riots is likely to get a pauper’s burial after relatives failed to collect his body due to financial constraints. Dennis Arum’s body is still at a hospital mortuary while the bodies of the other four — Desmond Mavhundutse, Paul Pedzisa Zuze, Titus Mandikonza and Nicholas Bendera — have since been collected for burial. Government has since released funds for the upkeep of 19 000 prisoners in the country’s 46 prisons.