By Fadzayi Mahere
Despite having been in an “isolation cell” and the “quarantine section” at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, I have tested positive for COVID-19, following seven days of pre-trial incarceration.
While I currently only have a cough and fever, I have chosen to share my results to draw attention to the deplorable state of our prison conditions and the very real threat faced by inmates at these facilities. I believe that in my own life, all experiences good and bad have been willed by God to teach me something deeper about humanity.
My present focus is a return to good health but my heart breaks for the many inmates whom I left behind. In this moment, I pray that my experiences spur us into action for those who society has tucked away in silence and mostly forgotten. They don’t even have the most basic need – running water. This is before we look at soap, sanitizer, clean masks and proper facilities to enable social distancing. Their lives matter. I call on those with the authority to change things to look at the state of our prisons and respond accordingly.
COVID-19 is affecting us all. Now is the time to show leadership, pragmatism and humanity. As for those who continue to use lawfare as a tool to silence opposition voices, thank you for bringing to the light what has been forgotten in the dark. We must demand accountability for every Zimbabwean life under the supposed care of the State.
I ask that we not only pray for Zimbabwe but take responsibility for each other by wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and avoiding gatherings. Most importantly let’s be kind to one another at a period when so many are going through so much. The consequences of poor leadership are evident but we the people should never tire of being exemplary in our conduct.
Stay safe. #ZimbabweanLivesMatter🇿🇼