MDC Alliance Member of Parliament for Mbizvo, Settlement Chikwinya has exposed the deplorable conditions at Kwekwe Remand Prison.
Chikwinya spent two weeks in remand prison after he was arrested for public violence during the January riots.
In an interview with Southern Eye soon after being freed on bail by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese, Chikwinya spoke at length about the conditions at the prison. He said:
The prison infrastructure is dilapidated and dehumanises one to the level of an animal. Kwekwe Prison is overcrowded, currently holding 217 inmates against a holding capacity of 120.
Remember, Kwekwe Prison is, by design, a remand prison but currently, convicts are also being held and serving from that institution.
Inmates have to contend with water shortages, coupled with very poor diets and overcrowding in holding cells.
The complaints are largely to do with food. The diet comprises of sadza, beans or some vegetable they call Boko Haram. The beans are normally not well-cooked.
The Boko Haram is some weed normally found at some cattle pens or along riverbeds, one with purple leaves [Amaranth]. I grew up using the weed to feed rabbits. The inmates want a change of that situation.
The institution needs a borehole in order to facilitate irrigation for normal household vegetables like covo or rape. Currently, the borehole is malfunctioning and the few times it works, it cannot cope.