MDC-T slams judiciary for activist’s death

MDC-T has slammed the country’s judiciary system in the wake of its activist, Rebecca Mafikeni’s death in remand prison.

According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Mafikeni passed away on Monday at Parirenyatwa Hospital aged 30. ZLHR said she had been detained at Parirenyatwa after falling ill while incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

She had been in detention since her arrest in May 2011 on charges of murdering a police officer in contravention of Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 alternatively or concurrently Public Violence as defined in Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

She was accused together with 28 other MDC activists from Glen View of the murder of policeman, Petros Mutedza. The other 24 were released on bail between November and December 2012.

MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told The Zimbabwean that Mafikeni’s death was an indictment on the country’s judiciary.

“This is a very sad development and serious indictment on our judiciary,” Mwonzora said. He said the courts had failed to address her plight. “She has been in prison for years without the courts being sensitive to her plight despite her being visibly terminally ill,” Mwonzora said.

In a condolence message ZLHR said while behind bars, Rebecca had suffered the worst of the prison system’s inhumane conditions.

“Universally guaranteed human rights were stripped off the political prisoner as she spent close to nine months in solitary confinement at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

“Prison authorities allowed her only 20 minutes a day out of the confined cell where in during these 20 minutes, she was expected to complete all chores human beings are expected of in a day – from laundry and bathing to exercising and just ‘enjoy’ a bit of sunlight out of her dingy prison hole,” ZLHR said.

ZLHR said as a result of such malevolent and unjustified actions by the state, Rebecca languished in prison as her condition deteriorated.

“Those implicated in, and responsible for her predicament are complicit in, and contributed to, her sad death. These architects of Rebecca’s death must be held accountable for the loss of such a precious life, and we call for an immediate investigation into her death and swift action against the perpetrators by the prosecutorial authorities,” ZLHR said.

Mafikeni’s death was symptomatic of the culture of impunity in the country, ZLHR said.

“It is cruel, unwarranted and unfair that such a well-lived life has ended in this needless manner. Only bringing the perpetrators to account will assist in ending this unacceptable culture of impunity.

“It is ZLHR’s firm belief that bad things that happen to good people serve a greater good, and Rebecca’s death should teach us all something about standing up for what is right if we only let ourselves be taught,” ZLHR said.

Mafikeni was MDC-T youth assembly deputy organising secretary for Harare.

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