Kudakwashe Mugari Deputy News Editor
THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has refuted claims on social media and other debates that former Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Priscah Mupfumira — who is in jail for grand corruption — has been getting special treatment in and out of remand prison
Social media yesterday was awash with pictures and videos of Mupfumira coming to court smartly dressed and holding a handbag as well as toiletry bag in her hand.
It is alleged that Mupfumira got a special seat in the prison van and used the back door entrance to enter the court for her bail hearing yesterday.
However, in an interview with The Herald yesterday, Chief Correctional Officer and national public relations officer for ZPCS Meya Khanyezi said unconvicted prisoners like Mupfumira have special rights they are entitled to.
‘‘We have Section 78 of Prisons Act Chapter 7:11 which says an unconvicted prisoner may be permitted to maintain himself and to arrange for the purchase or receive from private sources at proper hours items such as food, bedding clothing or other necessities as the commissioner may from time to time determine,” she said.
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‘‘Section 80 further states that if an unconvicted prisoner does not provide himself with food, clothing and bedding, he shall receive normal prison food, clothing and bedding,” she added.
Her clarification is in line with the findings of an independent body about the rights of prisoners in Zimbabwe.
A 2018 report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, titled “RIGHTS BEHIND BARS: A Study of Prison Conditions In Zimbabwe” concluded that Zimbabwe prisons were in compliance with international and domestic standards on conditions of detention to make recommendations.
The central aim of the study was to determine whether the conditions in our prisons are consistent with the international and domestic standards that are provided for in international instruments, the Constitution and the Prisons Act (Chapter 7:11).
“To make this determination, the Forum, in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO), carried out prison monitoring visits at seven correctional or custodial institutions representing different types of prisons in the country and found out that Zimbabwe was at 80 percent compliance level in terms of providing prisoners with dignity, cell conditions and sanitations, bedding, adequate clothing, the right to sufficient food.
“The study also found out that the prisoners are getting education as well as various forms of vocational trainings and work.
“The study also recommended that the prisoners have a right to clean water and the right to health care services,” said the organisation.