Fadzayi Mahere Tests Positive For Covid-19 After Release From Prison
MDC Alliance Alliance spokesperson Fadzai Mahere tested positive for Covid-19 after a seven-day prison stint, she revealed on Wednesday.
Mahere was detained over charges that she published falsehoods by tweeting that a police officer had killed a baby with a truncheon. Police later said the baby was alive.
On Wednesday, Mahere said she had tested positive for Covid-19 following her release on bail last Friday.
“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,” she said in a statement.
“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.”
MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti, who was in court to see Mahere granted bail, said the government was using pre-trial incarceration to “eliminate” opposition activists.
“Zimbabwe’s prisons are imploding with Covid-19,” he wrote on Twitter. “Inmates were exposed to conditions that were degrading, cruel and inhumane long before Covid-19. Covid-19 has exacerbated a desperate situation. By incarcerating activists, the regime is intent on eliminating activists and every other inmate.”
Mahere said she has a fever and is coughing, but she is more worried about inmates who are all exposed to the virus due to the deplorable state of Zimbabwe’s prisons.
She said: “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, sanitiser, 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.”
On Monday, a Harare court was told that three inmates who shared a cell with Harare mayor Jacob Mafume had succumbed to Covid-19 at Harare Remand Prison.
Zimbabwe has seen a spike in new infections since the start of the year.
On Tuesday, the ministry of health had declared 28,675 cases, including 18,110 recoveries and 825 deaths. There were 52 deaths on Tuesday.