Mafikeni’s death exposes prisons

The recent death of MDC-T activist Rebecca Mafikeni in remand prison has exposed the treatment of prisoners in the country.

Mafikeni spent two years behind bars as part of a group of 29 MDC-T activists facing charges over the death of police inspector Petros Mutedza. She was the MDC-T Youth Assembly Deputy Organising Secretary for Harare Province. The President of the Youth Assembly, Solomon Madzore, was also arrested. Madzore and 24 others were released at the end of last year leaving Masvikeni and four others behind bars.

Among the conditions condemned by analysts are the fact that she was held in solitary confinement in the male wing of Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

MDC-T’S Youth Assembly has attacked the Zimbabwe Prison Service over the manner of her death. Mafikeni went blind in both eyes while in prison and the authorities refused her treatment until it was too late.

Promise Mkwananzi, the assembly’s Secretary General, said the conditions under which political prisoners were held did not conform to local or international laws.

Outgoing Deputy Minister of Justice, Obert Gutu, said many standards and regulations were flouted in this particular case and other cases across the country.

“Rebecca spent two years behind bars, what if she was found innocent of the offence she was charged with?” he said.

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