HARARE - Convicts accused of masterminding a foiled jailbreak at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison yesterday revealed that prison officials brutally murdered inmates during the riot and later claimed that they were shot attempting to escape.
Incarcerated Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura, Blessing Chiduke, 25, Luckmore Matambanadzo, 39, Luck Mhungu, 38, Taurai Dodzo, 47, Thomas Chacha, 37, Thulani Chizema, 32, Jacob Sibanda, 28, and Elijah Vhumbunu, 38, have been charged with attempting to escape from lawful custody, malicious damage to property and assaulting or resisting a peace officer.
When Vhumbunu presented his defence during trial yesterday, he said the State outline had misrepresented the actual facts about the riot.
“I am surprised that the State outline alleges that the now deceased Titus Mandikodza was shot while on top of the roof while Zuze and Dennis Aram are alleged to have been shot because they picked a gun during the fracas,” Vhumbunu said.
“Mandikodza lived up to the following day and I remember that we had slept in FB1 Cell naked and without blankets. The following morning a list had been created and about 36 of us were thoroughly beaten.
“Some defecated and were made to consume their poop, others became unconscious and we later heard that Mandikodza had died during the assault.”
Vhumbunu claimed that prison officials shot Zuze and Aram, who were both unarmed.
He slammed the police for implicating them in the offence without conducting proper investigations.
He said prison officers created a list of “bad apples” who would become “sacrificial lambs”.
“Those who took part in this offence admitted openly but were never arrested. I am a victim of someone who failed to do his job well, caused several deaths and decided to sacrifice me to cover his tracks,” he said.
“There is nothing linking me to the offence. I have been in prison for the past 11 years and about to complete my jail term.
“I have come a long way and have no intention to escape.”
“Another inmate, Sibanda, claimed that the complainant, superintendent Jealous Dumbura, was bitter that he had snubbed his mission to make inmates support Joice Mujuru’s presidential bid.
“Dumbura is aligned to Gamatox and wanted to mobilise prisoners to vote for Joice Mujuru. I was so popular at prison since I was an actor and he knew I could assist his agenda,” he said.
“He started making people read certain Bible verses meant to indoctrinate prisoners. He would mock the First Lady and President Mugabe, and wants me to go down because I have inside information on how the riot was handled.”