Chikurubi Maximum female prisoners survive on one meal a day

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By Anna Chibamu

CHIKURUBI Maximum Security Prison female inmates are surviving on only one meal a day due to the institution’s broken down kitchen equipment, officials from Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) have revealed.

The ZPCS officials were speaking during a fact finding mission tour of the female section of the prison by the Justice Parliamentary Portfolio Committee led by Gweru MP, Brian Dube.

Inmates had to go without proper food during the rainy season as firewood is scarce.

Government has also put stringent rules on cutting down of trees countrywide.

The situation has become so dire that inmates are forced to eat vegetables and chunks without cooking oil.

Acting Chief Officer In Charge at the ZPCS Female Section, Stella Tokowoyo, told the committee that the kitchen boiler has since malfunctioned.

“We are now using firewood because the electric ones (boilers) are no longer working. I was away for 14 years, so I am not sure when these cooking pots became unusable.

“We have a challenge of sourcing for firewood. The farm where we get firewood is almost depleted as most people around this area use firewood for cooking,” Tokowoyo said.

One inmate told the committee: “Aaa tanzwa necabbage. Rakadaro haridyiki. Tinodya hedu akadaro mavegetables hatizeze but zvazonyanya, mazuva awanda pasina cooking oil (We have had enough of cabbages without cooking oil. Yes we can eat vegetables, but this time around it has gone on for too long).”

Other issues raised by officials included sewer blockages, shortages of clothing (only two pairs of uniform per inmate), blankets shortages and dilapidated infrastructure.

During the tour, raw sewer was flowing from the ablution facilities which have not been repaired for years.