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‘Brutalised’ ex-prisoner seeks justice

By Daniel Nemukuyu

A former prisoner who suffered a broken arm in an attack at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison has filed a police report that two warders assaulted him after he barged into a cell of a convicted popular businessman who was entertaining a woman while a second report states that it was fellow prisoners who hit him.

Tatenda Govere
Tatenda Govere

Tatenda Govere, who was recently freed under the Presidential Amnesty after serving four years in jail for housebreaking and theft, reported his case at Highlands Police Station under CR 52/10/18 accusing two prison officers of assault while a later report CR 62/10/18 accuses other prisoners.

Both reports have been sent to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who will decide on the way forward, said national police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.

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“I can confirm that an assault report was made to the police against some prison officers but the case became complicated when another report was made, implicating fellow inmates as assailants,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.

Govere complained to High Court judge Justice Herbert Chitapi in March this year during the judge’s routine prison visit.

Govere, who was in 2015 jailed eight years for housebreaking, claims he entered the businessman’s cell intending to borrow a newspaper, only to find him enjoying the company of a woman.

He allegedly left the cell and continued with his daily chore of serving sadza to fellow prisoners. Two prison officers, whom he believes were linked to the businessman grilled him, he said, demanding to know why he got into the cell without notice.

“Being a trusted prisoner at yellow stage (prisoners deemed to have reformed), on September 26, 2018, I was serving food at A Hall where the businessman was staying.

“Since I was in good books with the businessman, I left a bucket of Sadza on the floor and went into his cell to ask for the day’s newspaper.

“In the cell, I was surprised to see the businessman in the company of a woman and they were eating a cake. I quickly retreated and walked away without saying a word,” said Govere.

“A few hours later, the two prison officers (names supplied) called me and grilled me over the incident. They quizzed on why I entered the cell without notice. I told them I wanted a newspaper but they turned violent and ordered me to lie on the ground.

“They took turns to assault me all over the body with a black baton until my left arm broke. I also sustained injuries on my left leg after one of the officers tripped me to the ground as I tried to escape,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) confirmed receipt of the report saying investigations were in progress.

ZPCS spokesperson, Superintendent Meya Khanyezi said: “The allegations of assault purported by Tatenda Govere, who was released under the Presidential Amnesty last week, are is still under investigation.” The Herald