MDC’s Chibaya relives horrendous ordeal at notorious Hwahwa prison; facility has no water or electricity

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By Anna Chibamu

MDC national organising secretary Amos Chibaya has relived “terrible” jail experience at Hwahwa Prison in Gweru where he was remanded for almost three weeks after being arrested twice.

The Mkoba legislator was recently bailed after being charged with inciting violence and subversion of a constitutionally elected government during the deadly and nationwide January protests.

On Monday he told journalists that “no human being should be subjected to conditions” he witnessed at the Gweru-based correctional service institution.

Chibaya, who got a warm welcome from fellow opposition legislators at Parliament on Tuesday, said detainees at Hwahwa were being forced to survive without running water, adequate food and even lighting.

“The situation is terrible frankly speaking. People with minor cases are housed together with those with serious criminal cases such as murders and robbers,” he said.

“There is no food at all. The cells are pathetic with no water and lighting. As far as conditions at this prison are concerned, it is terrible for any human being to stay at Hwahwa Prison.”

He added; “I do not know about other prisons like Chikurubi but, at this prison, the situation is unbearable.

“If you are at remand, you are innocent until proven guilty. So, even if one is found guilty, there is no justification for a human being to be subjected to such conditions.”

Chibaya also revealed that visitors are not allowed at the prison for those on remand.

“No, they do not allow you to meet anyone. Even my fellow MP, Chief Whip Prosper Mutseyami was denied access to me.”

Zimbabwe’s prisons are notorious for overcrowding and appalling conditions.

In recent years, the cash-strapped government has failed to provide medicines and adequate food to inmates.

Prisoners who are terminally ill are sometimes reportedly given painkillers only in cases where antibiotics or other vital drugs are needed.