By Robert Tapfumaneyi
Convicted MDC activist Paddington Japajapa has bemoaned the state of cells at the Harare Central Prison where he had been languishing for months until he was freed on bail in August.
The Harare businessman said when he was detained at the correctional facility, there was one bucket placed inside the cell, which inmates used to relieve themselves.
The bucket was now in a rundown state.
“At Harare Central Prison, the rights of detainees are not being respected at all,” Japajapa told NewZimbabwe.com.
“The prison was built in 1910 and the ablution facilities have not been renovated or replaced up to now.
“Imagine 40 years after independence, we are still using the bucket system, and when it comes to water, we were given less than 4 litres for drinking, bathing and washing clothes per day.
“When it comes to safety of inmates inside the prison, the situation leaves a lot to be desired.”
Japajapa said he agreed with Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi that more needed to be done in terms of ensuring that conditions within local prisons were improved.
He added, “But I believe that what we are doing at the moment is we are meeting the standards that we are supposed to.”
Japajapa was freed in August by the High Court on $1 000 bail pending appeal after spending nearly two months in jail.
He was jailed for three years in July this year after he was convicted for inciting public violence.
A ‘Rights Behind Bars’ study 2018 by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum established that there was overcrowding in some Zimbabwean prisons with high risks of disease outbreaks.
There were shortages of detergents, soap, body lotion, and other washing aides which were rarely supplied to inmates who relied on what they received from relatives and well-wishers.
At many prisons, the inmates used buckets to flush human waste because of water shortages and dysfunctional flushing systems.
At Mutare Farm Prison, lice were reported to have become a serious problem and there was need for fumigation to fix the situation.
There were no toilets in cells at Tabudirira Satellite Prison in Mutoko.