By Desmond Chingarande
A Harare magistrate heard that the officer-in-charge at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, George Mutimbanyoka, threatened MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Job Sikhala with death.
Mutimbanyoka also allegedly ordered his junior officer to handcuff and shackle Sikhala with leg irons the whole day on Sunday, accusing him of plotting to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
Sikhala’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo told magistrate Lazini Ncube that Mutimbanyoka violated his client’s rights, adding the opposition leader no longer felt safe at Chikurubi and would rather be placed in a different prison.
“Your worship, the officer-in-charge at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, George Mutimbanyoka, threatened Sikhala with death and instructed his junior officer to shackle him with leg irons the whole day yesterday. He threatened him for destabilising President Mnangagwa’s rule,” Nkomo said.
Nkomo said on Saturday, seven inmates tested positive for COVID-19 in the section Sikhala was detained and four more were confirmed positive of the virus on Sunday.
He said Sikhala had no sanitisers to protect himself.
“Sikhala no longer feels safe at Chikurubi and would rather be placed in a different prison. We require investigations to be instituted on the reports and request immediate fumigation of the prison cells at Chikurubi,” Nkomo said.
Nkomo also requested the court to visit Chikurubi Prison to ascertain the issues raised by Sikhala.
However, the State, represented by Garudzo Ziyadhuma, said it was the first time to hear such allegations and promised to investigate.
Ncube ordered the State to investigate the abuses and the prison authorities to sanitise the cells as soon as possible.
According to the State, Sikhala incited people to revolt against the government on July 31.
Several MDC Alliance activists were arrested with some having been granted bail by different courts around the country.
Sikhala’s bail hearing continues tomorrow.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance supporters staged protests outside the Harare Magistrates Court denouncing the arrest of Sikhala and other activists.
Riot police had to come in and disperse the crowd, assaulting some activists in the process. News Day