Cape Town – Zimbabwean Justice Minister Emerson Mnangagwa has reportedly denied reports that prisoners in the country’s jails were starving to death due to government’s failure to feed them.
Reports this week said food shortages had hit the country’s prisons, resulting in more than 100 inmates dying from hunger and other nutrition-related illnesses this year.
Mnangagwa, however, denied the reports, saying no one had died from hunger.
According to newzimbabwe.com, Mnangagwa said although the prison service experienced food supply problems, no inmate had died from hunger.
He said government was supported by the country's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and that there was no single day that passed “without us having food supplies”.
He said the reports were misleading.
Zimbabwe has 46 prisons with 18 460 inmates.
The country is faced with an economic crisis, which critics blame on mismanagement by veteran President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party.
They say the party’s seizures of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks weakened food production in a country that was once the breadbasket of the region, leaving millions dependent on foreign aid for survival.