Prison breaks: Majome wants answers

MDC shadow Justice Minister Jessie Majome has called for an investigation into the country’s prison system following the escape of 34 prisoners countrywide. She believes the jailbreaks are just the tip of the iceberg and reflect deep problems.

Jessie Majome
Jessie Majome

“I am appalled at the low levels of competence in the Zimbabwe Prison Services. It points to corruption that such a high number of prisoners can escape,” she said. “There are long standing problems in this sector caused by the militarisation of the prison system. This shows the need for security sector reform and an investigation to get to the bottom of the matter,” she said.

The inmates escaped from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison Farm, Chikurubi Female, Mutare Farm, Mutare Remand, Whawha, Khami Remand and Kentucky prisons. ZPS said some prison officers had since been dismissed while others were still under investigation.

Among the high profile cases was that of the Ghanaian businessman at the centre of the $6 million diamond bribery storm who fled Zimbabwe after obtaining a fake High Court warrant of release.

Kingsley Ghansah had been convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for illegally trading in gold. Thirteen of the escapees have since been recaptured. According to the ZPS the inmates used different means to escape but in most instances they fled after requesting permission to answer the call of nature.

Majome said such laxity should be questioned. “We need to find out exactly what’s going on there. How do the prisoners escape? There must be a thorough investigation into the security systems in prisons, the conditions in the prisons as well as the administration of the prisons,” she said. “I think heads must roll. The Ministry of Justice must tell us exactly what is going on in there.”

Post published in: News

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