Hopewell Chin’ono writes about his prison experience

Here is part of Hopewell Chin’ono’s piece on his prison experience.

“The social worker told me that some of the mentally ill prisoners spent years in the prison facility for a crime as small as stealing a loaf of bread or insulting someone.All this suffering for these mentally ill prisoners simply because of a failure to convene the mental health board to assess the prisoners.The prisoner’s deaths are unceremonious and degrading, but life goes on without the outside world knowing about this tragic reality inside Chikurubi.

The State tragically relies on propaganda, lying about the situation inside the prison, and I saw this firsthand!When I was at Chikurubi, almost ALL prisoners didn’t have COVID-19 masks, no soap to wash their hands, no running water in their cells where they spent 17 hours of each day locked-up.When Jacob Ngarivhume, Job Sikhala and I made noise about the issue of masks, the prison knew that our noises would soon be making their way into our court arguments.They brought a ZBC camera, wheeled out a group of about 20 prisoners who were made to sing whilst wearing masks in front of the ZBC camera, and the story that evening on ZBC was that ALL prisoners at Chikurubi had masks.The truth is that almost ALL prisoners at Chikurubi prison didn’t have masks right up to the day I left prison on the second of September.

The prison doctor even participated in this deceitful charade to hoodwink the nation into believing that every prisoner had a mask, when almost all of them didn’t have one.“You should all make sure that you don’t remove your masks,” said Dr Evidence Gaka dishonestly in front of the camera knowing very well that there were no masks to be removed.When the prisoners tried to protest through questions in front of the camera, Dr Gaka who is also the Zimbabwe Prisons medical doctor was gone.The failure to provide masks is a direct result of the LOOTING of public funds meant for COVID-19 consumables that I had reported about in May, June and July of this year.I was arrested and abused as punishment for making these corruption exposures, although the State comically charged me with incitement of public violence!Four days before I was finally given bail by High court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi, I requested through my legal team for my personal doctor to come and see me.I was feeling extremely unwell and I was not eating.I had a terrible fever, weak joints, a mild headache and a lack of appetite.

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