By Mary Taruvinga
JAILED cleric, Robert Martin Gumbura, the alleged mastermind of a failed jail break attempt following a violent protests over poor prison food by inmates, on Monday suffered a stomach ache after consuming contaminated beef.
Gumbura, who is serving time for rape, failed to stand trial indicating he was suffering from a severe stomach-ache after he consumed beef at Chikurubi Maximum Prison on Sunday.
He is charged together with seven other inmates who are accused of inciting a food riot in a bid to escape from prison over four years ago.
They all could not stand trial giving similar reasons that they were too sick to do so.
“There is a report from six accused persons. They have since reported that they are unwell. All have running stomachs after they consumed beef yesterday (Sunday),” said their lawyer Lovemore Madhuku.
The inmates had previously applied for postponement of their trial on grounds that they wanted to approach the High Court to seek review of a ruling in which their application for discharge was dismissed at the close of State case.
Their application was dismissed and the presiding magistrate, Francis Mapfumo ruled the inmates should proceed to trial.
Through their lawyers, Gumbura and his suspected accomplices told court that they now intended to approach the Constitutional Court to seek stay of proceedings following the dismissal of their application for review.
Madhuku said he is going to file a written application which he will submit this Tuesday before the State response.
Prosecutor Michael Reza challenged the decision arguing that the court has “powers to dismiss an application where it feels that the application is frivolous.”
Gumbura is being charged together with Blessing Chiduke, Lucky Mhungu, Taurai Dodzo, Thomas Chacha, Elijah Vhumbunu and the notorious Lucky Matambanadzo.
They have been on trial over the past four years.
The State recently closed its case after leading five witnesses.
Only two of the witnesses implicated Gumbura saying he was the mastermind behind the foiled escape bid.
Court was told that the Gumbura was so influential to an extent that he had bodyguards and a secretary inside prison walls.
Gumbura could supply Mazoe and cigarettes to all inmates and prison wardens, court heard.
The gang is facing charges of attempting to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances or alternatively, conspiracy in aggravating circumstances for malicious damage to property.
Two others have been let off the hook after being found not guilty.
Allegations are that 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.
At that time, the inmates pushed out of the food containers which had been brought for lunch, refusing to be addressed by Dumbura.
The court heard that before the food was served, Titus Mandikodza, who is now late, went on top of the roof through a hole in the asbestos sheets, which they had already drilled.
At that moment, it is alleged, Vhumbunu and Sibanda took sadza and vegetable relish and threw it at Dumbura and that is when violence erupted with prisoners vandalising property worth over $450 000.