“They could refurbish the holding cells using the money they get from spot fines,” she said, commenting on last week’s Constitutional Court ruling in favour of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
The court directed the state to ensure that all holding cells had clean and flushing toilets with toilet paper and washing bowl.
Four WOZA members, Jennifer Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Celina Madukani and Clara Manjengwa, brought a case against Co-Ministers of Home Affairs, the Police Commissioner-General and Attorney General in 2010 after being arrested during a peaceful protest against poor electricity service delivery and detained at Harare police station from 15 to 20 April 2010. They were held in deplorable conditions – forced to wade through human waste to use the blocked toilets or to reach the tap above the toilets to drink water.
"A good standard of hygiene shall be maintained in the holding cells and every person detained in police custody overnight shall be furnished with a clean mattress and adequate blankets and bathing facilities. Every person detained shall have access at all times to wholesome drinking water from a source other than the tap above the toilet," read part of the ruling.
“The ruling is a welcome development but failure to avail resources towards the rehabilitation of cells means that the ruling will remain unimplemented,” said Rita Nyamupinga, the director of Zimbabwe Female Prisoner Support.
ZLHR urged the state to immediately comply with the ruling. “Immediate compliance with the court ruling is a constitutional imperative. Any delays in according detained persons full rights as enunciated in the judgment cannot be excused and would constitute a gross subversion of the rule of law and fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution,” say the lawyers.Post published in: News