From The Times
December 22, 2008
Zimbabwe's inflation means jail wardens steal from prisoners to stay alive
Times' reporter Martin Fletcher described negotiating roadblocks in Zimbabwe where mostly what was wanted was bribes - a kind of local road tax.
More alarming was when I was flagged down by two police officers nearIn the car they raged against President Mugabe's regime. The senior one, a
Bulawayo, prompting visions of Christmas in a lice-infested Zimbabwean prison.
But they just wanted a lift.
sergeant of five years' standing, claimed that his monthly salary did not buy
even a litre of cooking oil. His work was merely “community service”. He said
that he felt sympathy for the suffering of ordinary people, and that if they
rebelled he would not fire on them.
Another passenger was a warden at Bulawayo's infamous Khami prison. TheHe said that he had five children to support and had not eaten bread for a
previous month he had earned 200 million Zimbabwean dollars - less than US$1 at
today's rate. Of that sum he could withdraw only a fraction after queueing for
four hours at the bank each morning. Every day and a bit, its value halved.
year. He survived by stealing the prisoners' sadza - a porridge that is now a
luxury for most - or by trading favours for food brought in by families.
“There's no discipline ... We depend on the prisoners to stay alive.”
The regime can't last.