BY LORRAINE MUROMO
ZIMBABWE’s three leading human rights lobby groups — Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and Zimbabwe Human Rights Association — have donated personal protective equipment and jerseys worth US$1 824 to inmates at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking during the handover ceremony in Harare yesterday, ZPP executive director, who is also the chairperson of the NGO Forum, Jestina Mkoko, said they felt duty-bound to help in safeguarding the health of inmates as well as prison officers.
“Our work is to do with protecting the rights of Zimbabwean citizens. However, we cannot protect their rights while we are not protecting their health, that is why we have seen that it is important that people in prisons get these things to protect themselves from this COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) senior assistant commissioner, Alvord Gapare expressed gratitude for the donation and urged other organisations to follow suit.
“We would like to thank the human rights organisations for what they have done for us. COVID-19 has no limits, it is infecting even those in jail, which means the prisoners and officers who work in the prisons are being infected by the virus in the same manner,” he said.
He added: “It is through such generous and progressive organisations that we as the ZPCS family remain motivated and resolute in continuing with our commitment towards accomplishing our goal of rehabilitating offenders for their successful reintegration into society through maintaining a healthy environment.”
The donation came following reports that most of the country’s prison facilities were in a sorry state with inmates running out of food and clothes.