SW Radio Africa (London)

15 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Madzore Not Bitter After One Year of Wrongful Imprisonment

After serving 13 months incarcerated without a conviction MDC-T youth assembly President Solomon Madzore has expressed no bitterness after his long ordeal inside the notorious Chikurubi maximum security prison.

His release from prison for a murder he says he did not commit will certainly set off a fresh wave of self-examination by the legal profession in Zimbabwe about the dangers of faulty testimony, which can result not just in wrongful incarceration but possibly also the execution of the innocent.

Savouring his freedom on the second day of his release, Madzore said: 'I can't be angry. I'm not bitter at all. That is not going get me nowhere. I have to move forward.'

Madzore was arrested in October last year, five months after the murder of police inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View. He is one of 31 MDC-T activists charged with the cop's murder.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa's Hidden Story program Madzore said he knew nothing about the crime until he read about it in the newspaper a day or two after the fateful incident. He told authorities he was at a doctor's surgery in Highfields when Mutedza lost his life during the disturbances in Glen View.

'I spent the morning visiting a friend, Stewart Mukoyi in Kuwadzana, who was recovering from injuries sustained during a police beating. Around midday I rushed home to pick up my wife who had suffered a miscarriage and drove her to our family doctor in Gazaland, Highfields.

'I was there until 5pm when I went back home. I was nowhere near the scene and we have witnesses who corroborated that. The police knew the truth and they still know I'm innocent but they were acting on instructions from ZANU PF to keep me inside,' claimed Madzore.

'Therefore I cannot feel angry. I put all that in God's hands. I have to think about my family and God, friends and colleagues who visited me in prison who inspired me to move forward.'

Asked if he was mistreated in prison, the youth leader said he was never abused or assaulted at anytime but complained about the state of the facilities and food.

'The food is awful and the complex is generally grim, unsanitary and full of diseases. Yet, despite all the privations that I suffered, bouts of debilitating disease all I'm waiting for now are the last hurdles of seeing the murder charges being dropped to bring an end to the ordeal in which we have been falsely blamed for the death of Mutedza,' he said.

Madzore thanked his lawyers, for their work on the case so far. 'Over the course of the year we've had many, many bail hearings - not all that successful,' he said. 'It would have been easy to lose hope. But I firmly believe, whatever your persuasion, there's something greater than us out there that can help us get through these trying times.'

During the year in prison, Madzore said he missed seeing his family grow, and his freedom. When asked what he was going to do next, the youth leader replied: 'Keep fighting until we win the next elections.'

Madzore admitted that he still hasn't figured out why he was targeted for Mutedza's murder.

'If it was a mistake that they arrested me, they would have quickly realized it from my alibi, so maybe the intention was there to deliberately target me, but we will wait for the truth as the trial is ongoing,' Madzore said.

Commenting on Madzore's ordeal, US based political analyst Dr Maxwell Shumba said no amount of persecution of MDC members will derail the people's project to bring real change to Zimbabwe.

'Madzore and others who have been to Chikurubi symbolize what the fight for freedom and democracy is all about,' Shumba said.

The full interview with Madzore can be heard on our Hidden Story program on Wednesday 21st November.

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