MDC Alliance national youth
organiser, Godfrey Kurauone has lamented conditions at Masvingo Remand Prison,
saying they were meant for animal and not as penitentiary for human beings.
Speaking in an interview with
TellZim News after his release from the correctional facility, Kurauone said
the experience has left on him an indelible imprint of grief.
“More often than not, there were
over 30 of us in one small cell at a time and there was never a time we were
less than 20. All those social distancing rules being encouraged are completely
impossible to adhere too because we were overcrowded.
“We were given lice –infested
blankets and horrible food usually sadza and spinach or badly-cooked beans. That
was our daily bread and as I look back, I cannot help but feel sorry for fellow
inmates whom I left behind, some of them wrongly-accused,” said Kurauone, who
spent 42 days in remand prison on accusations of obstructing the free movement
of traffic in relation to the abortive July 31 demonstrations.
Kurauone was acquitted on the
charge on September 10, with another charge of criminal nuisance having been
dropped earlier in the course of the trial.
In an example Kurauone said showed persecution through prosecution, he had been denied bail three times by the Magistrates’ and High courts before his acquittal.
Kurauone said basic hygiene was
impossible to practice in remand prison, with dozens of inmates sharing a dilapidated toilet and
“They did not allow me to receive
food and toiletries from home citing coronavirus so I had to manage without
such basics as tooth brush and toothpaste. I think the coronavirus excuse was
being abused to deny prisoners their right to dignity because prison warders
and other staff members still live in the usual communities. They commute to
and from work every day without any special arrangement for them. Their
interaction with inmates remains the same so I don’t see the logic of banning
loved ones from delivering food and toiletries to inmates,” said Kurauone.
He said due to the political
nature of his case, he was a sort of an outcast among others as most inmates avoided
being friendly to him for fear of victimisation.
“At one moment, an inmate gave me
his bed sheet to use and when the prison guards came for their routine
inspection and found me with the sheet, they went mad. I felt sorry for that
fellow because they made his life miserable. One prison guard confided in me that
they had received a call from their superiors in Harare questioning why an MDC
person was being given special treatment,” Kurauone said.
He said he will not shy away from
fighting for human rights and a better life for all citizens despite the