By Mary Taruvinga
JAILED cleric Robert Martin Gumbura and eight fellow inmates have hired top Harare lawyer Lovemore Madhuku to defend them in a case in which they are being accused of masterminding a foiled jailbreak from Chikurubi Maximum Prison in 2015.
Gumbura and his fellow inmates have been on trial since 2015 but three years down the line, only four witnesses out of 23 have testified.
Madhuku said he was going to push for a speedy trial adding that he will still be assisted by the embattled rape convict’s lawyer Tapson Dzvetero.
Gumbura’s accomplices include Blessing Chiduke (25), Lucky Mhungu (38), Taurai Dodzo (47), Thomas Chacha (37), Thulani Chizema (32), Jacob Sibanda (28), Elijah Vhumbunu (38) and notorious armed robber, Lucky Matambanadzo (39).
Only Elijah Vumbunu is out of custody on bail for the case after completing his 10-year sentence for robbery.
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.
The group is being tried by Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo.
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.
Prosecuting, Michael 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 cow peas.
Some prison guards sustained injuries and over five inmates lost their lives during the riot.