By Mary Taruvinga
THE state has finally concluded its case against jailed cleric Robert Martin Gumbura and eight fellow inmates who were charged for inciting a food riot inside prison walls in a bid to escape jail.
Gumbura, who is serving a 40-year imprisonment for rape, was charged together with inmates Blessing Chiduke (25), Lucky Mhungu (38), Taurai Dodzo (47), Thomas Chacha (37), Thulani Chizema (32), Jacob Sibanda (28), Elijah Vhumbunu (38) and Lucky Matambanadzo (39).
The inmates have been on trial since 2015.
Only Vhumbunu is now out of custody after being granted bail following his completion of a 10-year imprisonment for robbery.
Their trial dragged for over four years after the state had lined up 24 witnesses to testify against them.
Only four had testified in three years.
However, some witnesses were later however dropped to speed up trial.
The nine will know their fate on April 1 this year when Harare magistrate, Francis Mapfumo delivers his judgement.
They intend to apply for discharge at the close of state case and will present their application in written format on March 12 before the state responds on March 22.
Mapfumo, the magistrate will deliver his judgement on April 1.
Gumbura and his accomplices are being accused of masterminding a foiled jailbreak from Chikurubi Maximum Prison in 2015.
They are all facing charges of attempting to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances or alternatively, conspiracy in aggravating circumstances for malicious damage to property.
According to the state, “On February 13, 2015 at around 9am, the inmates refused to eat porridge which had no sugar.
“They demanded to see the officer-in-charge, a Chief Superintendent Marange, who then sent his deputy, a Superintendent Dumbura to address them.”
It is also alleged that they complained about relish since they were allegedly being fed with cow-peas and Royco mixed with hot water.
Reza alleged that the inmates pushed out the food containers which had been brought for lunch, refusing to be addressed by Dumbura.
Dumbura left the Complex’s C Hall and went to D Hall, where he ordered for food to be brought in and served to those who wanted to eat.
Hell then broke lose when they realised they were about to be served sadza and cowpeas.
Some prison guards sustained injuries and over five inmates lost their lives during the riot.