Members of the national assembly have demanded that minister of justice and vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, as well as deputy commissioner of prisons Aggrey Huggins Machingauta be charged with contempt of parliament after they lied that jailed rapist and clergyman Robert Martin Gumbura instigated the riots at Chikurubi prison in 2015.
The rioting in March 2015 was caused entirely by a severe shortage of food at the maximum security facility, where meat had not been served for two years, according to a report presented to parliament on Thursday by the committee on defence, home affairs and security services chaired by Bindura Central MP Ronald Muderedzwa.
“The shortage of food posed a serious security threat and was the main cause of the riotous situation. The shortage of food could have been as bad or worse than what it was in 2007 and 2008 where some inmates were said to have died,” the committee report concluded in its main finding.
The report sent the MPs into a frenzy, with representative James Maridadi of Mabvuku, which borders Chikurubi demanding that Machingauta be charged with treason and be fired immediately. Machingauta is accused of ‘misinforming’ Mnangagwa that Gumbura was ‘chairman’ of a prison gang that hatched an elaborate plot with the help of outsiders to free more than 2000 dangerous criminals in a jailbreak designed to embarrass president Robert Mugabe who was touring Japan at that time.
“What the committee is now reporting is that Martin Gumbura had nothing to do with what happened on that particular day. What it means is that there are people who are working for the Zimbabwe Prison Service who deliberately misinformed the vice president of the nation,” Maridadi said. “When you deliberately misinform the vice president of a nation, for me that is treason. It is a treasonable offence because you cannot misinform the vice president of a nation who then comes to parliament and misinforms the nation.”
The committee said Machingauta’s submissions during interviews with MPs was unreliable as “there were contradictions in the evidence given by the Deputy Commissioner General and that of the other officers who were on the ground on the day of the attempted jailbreak”.
“Having received oral evidence from the Deputy Commissioner General Aggrey Huggins Machingauta and Superintendent Marange who was the Officer-in-Charge at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, your Committee found some inconsistencies which had to be clarified. In this regard, your Committee found the evidence given by the officers on the ground on the day of the incident more credible and substantiated,” the committee report concluded.
© Now Media 2016. All Rights Reserved.