Rusape prison officials on Tuesday snubbed a donation from Movement for Democratic Change loosing candidate for Makoni Central constituency, Patrick Sagandira, despite having initially accepted the offer as political tensions remain high following the July 31 national elections.
Prison authorities returned the donation of food stuffs, drinks, toiletries and soap soon after a handover ceremony. Pastor Luke Mundopa of the Prison Fellowship of Zimbabwe had handed over the $500 gift.
Reverend Mundopa said he was shocked by the prison authorities’ actions. VOA Studio 7 understands that the prison authorities decided to return the goods when they discovered the donation came from former prison inmate and MDC-T losing candidate Sagandira.
Sagandira told VOA Studio 7 from his base in Rusape that he had made the donation after realising that inmates need help from outside as conditions at the jail are bad.
Sagandira was a guest at the Rusape Prison from June 22 to July 5 on charges of inciting political violence ahead of the elections. He denied the charge and the case is still with the courts.
The losing MDC-T candidate said he is disappointed Rusape Prison returned the donation.
Rusape prison is overcrowded with 160 inmates when it has room for only 65. Conditions in the prison are said to be dire with basic amenities lacking.
A senior prison officer identified as Muzhingi did not respond to questions sent to him Tuesday as he was said to be attending Zimbabwe’s Defence Forces Day at Vengere Stadium, Rusape, Manicaland province.