About 400 Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) officers undergoing different specialist training at Ntabazinduna in Matabeleland North province reportedly staged a protest on Monday over the poor quality of food.
NewsDay reported sources as saying the situation got out of hand when the officers were served with a poorly-prepared meal for dinner.
Moreover, authorities have barred them from buying their own food outside the school perimeter, citing COVID-19. Said one of the trainees:
There is no food here. The little that we get is poorly cooked, yet they don’t allow us to go out of the schoolyard to buy supplementary food. Their canteen is empty.
Tension also rose when the trainees were forced to buy a simple T-shirt for $1 600 and a tracksuit for $4 500.
A meeting was held on Monday afternoon to resolve the uniform issue but there was an impasse as the trainees insisted that they didn’t have enough money to buy training uniforms.
The training is for three months and there are three training categories that include police training and security drawn from serving members.
When contacted for comment by NewsDay, the acting Commandant at Ntabazinduna Prisons Training School Chief Superintendent Priscilla Mthembo denied that there were protests at the depot. She said:
As a training school for ZPCS, our trainees, correctional officers will never participate in any demonstration of any nature.
We offer a two-way communication channel between the management of the school and trainees and we have never had any complaints pertaining to food or tracksuits.
Our trainees and officers at large are very much aware of the proper channels to air their grievances.
So the allegations of students demonstrating or complaints about food or students being forced to buy expensive tracksuits are not true.
The school management will always be available to assist trainees in various areas of need as they undergo these important training programmes.