PRISONS boss Paradzai Zimondi Monday called for the pardoning of inmates who ran amok last Friday at Chikurubi saying they needed another chance to realise their mistake, but the decision was overturned by the police who are now handling the case, prisons sources have revealed.
Over 900 inmates rioted over poor food at the country’s biggest jail, Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
Vice President Emmerson Mnanagwa has since confirmed that live ammunition was used in the skirmishes which resulted in the death of five inmates and left several others injured.
Properties worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were also destroyed in the unrest which left over 20 prison guards wounded.
Sources said Zimondi said rioters should be warned but his decision was overturned when the police moved in to investigate the mass protest with a view to pressing charges.
Officials who work at the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Head offices told Newzimbabwe.com that the Central Intelligence Organisation has also joined the witch hunt for ringleaders.
According to Mnangagwa, investigations have so far revealed that convicted pastor, Martin Gumbura, who is serving sentence for rape, was the leader of last week’s riots.
Said a source: “Not only the police are handling the case but also members of the CIO who are investigating the actual cause of the riots and for us to stop them would make it appear as if we were behind the failed mass escape which could have happened if the inmates had overpowered the guards”.
The MDC-T has since demanded the resignation of Zimondi for failing to administer the Correctional services.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led party also said an independent commission of inquiry should be instituted to investigate the root cause of the mutiny.