Zimbabwean Lawyer and Opposition MP Job Sikhala remains in prison after 300 days without bail, in what many believe to be a crude act of political persecution. Hopewell Chin’ono, a journalist and activist, recently visited Sikhala at Chikurubi prison and reported on the poor conditions he witnessed.
Chin’ono described the overcrowding of the prison cells, with over 40 inmates sharing a cell meant for just 16. He also reported that the quality of food was “atrocious” and had been condemned, but nothing had been done to improve it. In addition, inmates were forced to share one toilet without running water.
Sikhala, who was arrested for allegedly inciting public violence, sent a message of thanks to those who have shown him solidarity during his imprisonment. He specifically thanked the people of Zengeza West for standing with him, his family, and supporting his son, who he says stands as a sign of political defiance and not dynastic politics.
Many are calling for Sikhala’s release, including Amnesty International, which has labeled him a “prisoner of conscience” and has called on the Zimbabwean government to respect his rights to freedom of expression and association. In addition, the United Nations has expressed concern about the conditions in Zimbabwean prisons and has called for urgent action to improve them.
The plight of political prisoners like Sikhala highlights the ongoing political unrest and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Despite calls for reform, the government has been slow to act, leaving many to suffer in inhumane conditions. The international community must continue to raise awareness of these issues and pressure the Zimbabwean government to take action to address them.
Source – MasimbaNews ✍🏿