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Prison boss shields partisan officer



ZIMBABWE Prisons and Correctional Services has ignored a letter written to it by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights attorney Innocent Gonese over the misconduct of ZPCS officer Caroline Manjongo who has taken up a Zanu PF political post in violation of the constitution, The NewsHawks has learnt.


In an interview, Gonese said the letter he wrote to Prisons has not yet been responded to and they are yet to map a way forward.

“The letter has not been responded to, so we are still contemplating our next move,” he said.

A fortnight ago, Gonese through ZLHR wrote to ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu (pictured) demanding action over Manjongo who is serving as the vice-chairperson of the Zanu PF women’s league in Mashonaland East province in violation of section 208 of the constitution.

In their letter, Gonese, representing a concerned citizen, Takudzwanashe Mudzuri, issued Prisons a three-day ultimatum to respond, which  the institution has failed to do.

Zanu PF Mashonaland East secretary for security Jeremiah Chiwetu, a former police officer, wrote a letter dated 30 May 2023 to ZPCS chief director human resources administration and development, Commissioner Alvord Gapare, requesting the release of Caroline Manjongo.

The letter also revealed that the Manjongo, the prison officer, was also serving as the Mashonaland East Zanu PF women’s league deputy secretary, in violation of the constitution.
Chiwetu, who is also Marondera East legislator, requested that Manjongo be given time off to help organise the party ahead of elections.

Another letter dated 31 May 2023, written by retired Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Makureya, the secretary for administration for the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association in Harare, said Manjongo will be on national duty. The letter was addressed to Gapare.

“Requested is the release from duty of the above referred Zanu PF cadre who is the vice-chairwoman Women’s League for the period as from 1 June 2023 up to end of elections.
“She will be carrying out national duty involved in the Party Voter Mobilisation Programmes. Your assistance by releasing her for this noble cause will be much appreciated,” Makureya, who is secretary for administration, wrote to Gapare.

In past elections, the conduct of members of the security forces has come under scrutiny because of their partisan behaviour.

The most recent ban was of a Bindura rally where police said there are no servicable roads to the venue.

A rally in Gokwe was allowed but on stringent conditions that there would be no bussing and no toy-toying, conditions that do not apply to the ruling Zanu PF.

The police, for example, have often been accused of arbitrarily blocking opposition rallies or arresting opposition officials for flimsy reasons.

CCC reports that between 22 March 2022 by-elections and the campaign trail of the upcoming harmonised elections, police have banned over 120 rallies and meetings.

The police have often been accused of brutalising members of the opposition during demonstrations or in detention, while members of the intelligence have been implicated in kidnappings.

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