By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Now free, outspoken and fearless MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala has sensationally claimed that Zimbabwe’s largest and notorious jail, the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison is not worthy human habitation and gallantly vowed the “new order will close it down”.
Addressing the media Wednesday soon after his release from Chikurubi where he was incarcerated, Sikhala said the biggest jail was an “inhabitable” place.
High Court Judge Justice Erica Ndewere Tuesday granted ZWL 50,000 bail to Sikhala who is being charged with spurious charges of inciting violence in connection with the 31st July protests against corruption.
After spending more than 5 weeks at Chikurubi, Sikhala said inmates were poorly taken care of.
“The new order is going to close down this horrible inhabitable infrastructure called Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. We are going to make sure that it is going to be a museum. It isn’t worth human habitation.
“People there are surviving from food that is not even worthy to give your own dog. People there are starving. Look at me, I’m frilly on the basis of the diet that I was getting inside. I would only get one diet per day on the basis that I wanted to keep my soul going,” Sikhala said.
The Zengeza West legislator added that his legal team, family and colleagues were not allowed to bring him food forcing him to eat prison food once a day.
He claimed that even the prison officials were not given reasonable salaries.
Sikhala was also worried that he had not committed a crime and he accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s under-fire administration of orchestrating detention of dissenting voices.
“I was eating prison food because my lawyers and also my family were stopped from and also my other colleagues. So we had to budget ourselves in a small way through the prison food.
“But at the end of the day, I want to tell you that this infrastructure, we are going to shut it down and become a museum in this country. It isn’t worthy to exist in a civilised society.
“There is no crime that we have committed. It’s basically a regime that does not want to be criticized. But the truth of the matter is that freedom is coming.
“I want to promise the people of Zimbabwe, freedom is coming. When I went into Chikurubi Maximum Prison, prison guys were getting a salary worthy of five village roadrunners.
“When I left Chikurubi Maximum Prison, their salary was now worth three roadrunners. The same applies to nurses and teachers and everybody who has been a servant of our country.
“If the government was responsible rather than looting and plundering, they were supposed to construct houses for our civil servants in this country,” Sikhala added.
The arrest of Sikhala came a month after the arrest of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who recently exposed alleged government corruption involving President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son, Collins and his wife Auxilia in massive allegations of corruption, the US $60m Drax Covidgate scandal.
But Chin’ono was also arrested together with opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume.
They were also charged for inciting violence in connection with 31st July protests. They spent 45 days at Chikurubi before being granted bail by the High Court two weeks ago.