JAILED rapist Pastor Robert Martin Gumbura yesterday said he never incited other inmates to revolt against a poor diet or masterminded the alleged foiled jailbreak at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison early this year.
Giving his brief defence before Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo in a case where he is jointly charged with eight others for allegedly inciting violence and masterminding a jailbreak in March this year, Gumbura, through his lawyer Tapson Dzvetero, claimed he was simply targeted and labelled suspect because of his popularity among inmates.
“The charges are trumped up against him as a person who has attracted media attention for the rape cases which he was convicted of,” Dzvetero said.
“The State has chosen to charge him, either simply because he is well known by the public, or it is a mala fide [bad faith] and
well-orchestrated and choreographed attempt to have him convicted for something he never took part in.”
Gumbura further averred that his cell was in hall B far away from halls C and D where the alleged skirmishes took place.
Gumbura’s eight co-accused are conducting their own defence after Sharon Hofisi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights renounced agency.
These are Blessing Chiduke (25), Luckmore Matambanadzo (39), Luck Mhungu (38), Taurai Dodzo (47), Thomas Chacha (37), Thulani Chizema (32), Jacob Sibanda (28) and Elijah Vhumbunu (38). All the accused have denied the charges.
Chiduke took over two hours to recount the harrowing life inside Zimbabwe’s maximum security prison where he said inmates’ human rights were not respected.
“No one spoke about attacking prison officers, burning blankets or escaping back into society and I recall that no one intimated that we should cause chaos and havoc,” Chiduke said.
“No one was begged to be part of this since every inmate had a problem and that we had resolved that if there was no improvement in the quality of food that very day, we were going to collectively refuse the food.”
The other seven accused are expected to give their defence outline today.
Prosecutor Michael Reza has indicated that he will bring 24 State witnesses to testify in the matter.