VICE PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has admitted that the five prison inmates who met their death during last week’s ill-fated Chikurubi prison rioting over poor diet were in fact gunned down by the police.
In a clear sign government departments were at odds, Mnangagwa contradicted prison authorities’ media account which linked the prisoners’ death to a stampede among protesting inmates.
Mnangagwa told Parliament during the Question and Answer session on Wednesday that the slain inmates were among convicted ring leaders, among them jailed cleric Martin Gumbura, who plotted a jailbreak using poor diet as an excuse.
He added that the 900 rioting prisoners overpowered the prison wardens who were on duty, invaded and ransacked the kitchen where they plucked out various items res from the furniture to use against their keepers.
Mnangagwa said those killed and injured were among inmates who had broken through the roofs of some prison buildings to make good their escape.
Quizzed by Harare West MP Jessie Majome on why his account was different from that given through the press by Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services spokesperson Elizabeth Banda, Mnangagwa insisted his own version was authentic.
“l read in the press what you also read but l am giving this House the report l have received as Minister of Justice,” he said.
“I have no doubt that what l have received from the report as minister of justice by my officials is the authentic and formal report. I believe that what l have said represents what happened at Chikurubi.”TheZimbabweMail