National Healing Minister Laments Jail Conditions

The minister had been arrested for statements he made during a recent Gukurahundi memorial service and spent five days under police custody in Lupane holding cells.

He told Radio VOP in an interview that the conditions in the cells were inhuman and called on the Red Cross and other international humanitarian organisations to urgently intervene to improve prison conditions.

 “On Independence Day, I spent the whole day in police cells without any food or water to drink,” he said.
“I could smell some good food somewhere near the cell and could tell that Independence Day celebrations were in full swing. Little did I know that my party members had visited me and had been barred from seeing me. I told my lawyer that I had been denied food and water and had not been allowed to bath and he raised that in court.”

He slept without blankets in an overcrowded cell.

“In one cell there were 22 of us and we slept on the bare floor without blankets. We would sleep in two rows, our feet joining at the centre and that means there was no chance of turning around at night. It is so hard to be in a police holding cell,” Mzila-Ndlovu added.

Mzila Ndlovu said he was kept like a common criminal for five days where he was threatened and bullied by police officers including senior prisoners.

Mzila-Ndlovu, the MDC House of Assembly representative for Bulilima West and co-Minister in the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, was arrested on Friday 15 April for addressing a memorial service for Gukurahundi victims and survivors at a Roman Catholic Church Mass in Lupane on Wednesday 13 April.

The minister appeared in court on 19 April where he was charged with making utterances prejudicial to the State, and was given a US$500 bail.

Mzila Ndlovu was also ordered to surrender his travelling documents and was ordered to stay at his given address in Bulawayo.