PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s Government wants to transform the prisons in Zambia into habitable places for in-mates, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Panji Kaunda has said.
Meanwhile, some prisoners have asked Government to release more terminally sick inmates to decongest the prisons.
Col Kaunda said it was the wish of President Lungu, who previously served as Home Affairs Minister, to transform the Prisons Services in Zambia.
He said prisons were no longer places of punishment but corrective Schools or Colleges aimed at reforming the in-mates into better citizens.
Col Kaunda was speaking in Livingstone on Monday when he addressed male prisoners inside the Livingstone Central Prison.
“The prisons won’t be reformed overnight but we will surely do something to reform them. We have a programme of building new prisons facilities and new cells even here in Livingstone.
“These cells will be built by yourselves (prisoners) using your acquired skills so that you live in the new facilities comfortably. We believe the building of more cells will alleviate the problems of congestion in prisons,” he said.
Col Kaunda also apologised on the behalf of the Government on the current poor conditions in prisons saying the previous Government did not do much to improve the facilities.
“On behalf of the Government, we apologise on the conditions of prisons today. You will soon be living in better places and become better persons by the time you leave this place.
“The Patriotic Front (PF) Government is determined to change the conditions of prisons including the way prison officers live. Be patient with us and things will change. Bear with us for time being and things will be different soon,” he said.
He noted that most prisons in Zambia fell short of what they were are supposed to be looking like in the country.
“There is no way you can say you will be better citizens if you continue living the way you have been living currently.
“Before the end of this year, I will come here in Livingstone to commission the cells while your diet will also change. It is not gimmick to please you but a serious matter,” he said.
And addressing female prisoners at the same prison, Col Kaunda said jail was not meant to discard people.
“Jail is now a school. From here, you must come out with an appropriate life skill. If you did not know how to cook, you will be taught on how to cook.
“have seen the cells are not enough and toilets are not okay. The prisons department is making a better cell and you will relocate by the end of this month,” he said.
Livingstone Central Prison assistant superintendent and deputy office in charge Ivory Musumali said the prison currently had 754 inmates from the capacity of 250.
Mr Musumali said the prison was facing congestion and that the construction of a female cell, which would help t decongest the inmates, was almost complete.
“We are also constructing a mini-Hospital which is also nearing completion. In terms of challenges, we have inadequate transport, congestion, lack of uniforms for inmates and slow rate of disposal of cases at the courts,” Mr Musumali said.
And a male prisoner Davy Kaunda, who has spent his life in the same prison for 15 years, asked Government to release more terminally sick inmates to decongest the prisons.
Mr Kaunda asked Col Kaunda to correct the challenges affecting prisoners as apologising on behalf of the Government on the current status of prisons was not enough.
“The Government is saying the solution to congestion in prisons is to build more facilities. This is not a good solution.
“The best solution is to release terminally sick people and also those who have acquired skills in prisons so that they go out and use their skills acquired in prisons,” he said.
Mr Kaunda also wondered why Ministers and other high profile persons were quickly released after being jailed.
“These Ministers are failing to cope up with their stay in prison due to inhabitable conditions and since they are wealthy, they easily get bails and leave the prisons.
“What are they running away which they failed to correct when they were in power? We are still slaves in our own country regardless of what crime we committed and we are asking that you look into our plight,” Mr Kaunda said.
He also noted that former prisoners were being discriminated in society while the slowness of trials in courts also contributed to congestion.
Another prisoner, Chris Siantwala asked Government to start counting the day and night as separate days that prisoners spend to reduce on congestion.
“In other countries in Africa, they count day and night as two days but here it is just one day and hence congestion is increasing.
“Somehow, the Government is contributing to congestion. Let’s also start counting day and night like in other countries,” Mr Siantwala said.
Ba Kaunda if the prisons are not habitable why are there people in it?? Now you have just violated human rights by your statement. These prisoners have rights to be in a habitable prison.
When i see things like this i feel like crying
What you talking about Ba Kaunda – there are mattresses and mosquito nets in those prisons, which we didn’t have at our boarding school! Can you better the conditions in which our innocent children are kept in boarding schools first?
You need too. They will be your only voters or saviours at the rate the country is going.
These Prisons can be self sustaining?? Zambian leaders are lazy and don’t think outside the box.. They can Change them in to productive institutions, produce goods for export like vegetables, live-stocks, furniture etc ??
Look at Kenya, they supply vegetables and livestock products to the middle east produced from their prisons…
We are used to big talk with no action..
At the moment had no comments
you jus commented
These usual songs of Party in power, however, it should be clear it not about a sitting president wanting to improve the living conditions of inmates but should be the GRZ period. Why mention a sitting president that he/she wants to do this and this……….
Where is PF going to get Funds to sort out this problem in prisons. Everyone is capable to be a prisoner, until its your brother ,sister or your self ,then you will understand what I am saying. Prisoners have rights and in Zambia their wrights have been violated. Most of these prisoners are petty thieves or very un lucky poor people that have been set up or ignorantly found themselves in such a situation. Instead of being reformed they are being transformed in to hard call criminals with hard hearts were they believe this world is bad and un fair, so lets just be bad as well to the core.Zambia needs healing .It needs wise leaders .PF has failed.
I think crime in Zambia is out of control but these guys are still human beings. Despicable human beings but human beings nonetheless. Guys who once were babies with a mother who cared for them. How ever and when ever they went on the wrong path, they still do not deserve to be treated like animals.
In a civilized society like Zambia, prison should not be a place for punishment but a place for a chance for rehabilitation.
When government of the day is not proactive & hence ineffective, the country slips towards being a Police state. The ministry of chiefs is fast asleep while cadre-ridden provincial administration is chaotic for lack of proper coordination. A cadre knows no administrative order.
yes mr minister. make them more habitable. after all, everyone is a potential prisoner
Please humanise prison conditions. Have you been convinced by Muteteka, Mpombo and that chap who is MP for Mufumbwe. May be more leaders should be imprisoned like everyone else if action is to be taken.
You can do this by combining the skills of ZNS and using the prisoners serving community service to refurbish the prisons. Government should mobilise on paint and building materials instead of wasting money on expensive vehicles for ministers . If can use prisoners to grow vegetables then why can’t they be used to clean up the place or even expand it? It is the mental blockage with leadership in government institutions that is in seriously need transforming. Some people trusted to run these institutions are beyond repair when it comes to thinking outside the box.
What about houses for prison warders? they are as delapidated as the prison itself!!
don’t politise this issue,do something
Haha so the guard of honour was mounted by cabbages!
First let your PF government transform Lusaka streets and townships into place where one can walk and live without contracting disease due to garbage everywhere
All talk without clearly laid out policies..where is he going to the funds with this deficit due to their recklessness.
It’s very effective, to inspect infrastructure with your hands in your pockets
Let’s not copy from RSA. In South Africa, when criminals are released, they commit crimes so that they can be sent back to prison, some even killing innocent pipo.
They say life behind bars is better than outside. They have 3 meals, hot showers, DSTV, Pool tables, gyms, soccer etc. even conjugal visits from wives & girlfriends.
GOOD BA PANJI PREPARE IT NICELY COZ A BUNCH OF WILL SOON BE THERE
This is a small rubble in the jungle. we must maintain the pressure on gov’t to do something very quickly.
We need to punish the crime and not destroy the soul of the criminal. If we destroy the criminal, in the mind and body we might as well have capital punishment instead of prisions. The state of these prisons are statement on gov’t in the past and now; they clearly did not set aside enough to manage the prisons.
Sustainable is for the good of the prisioners themselves. They can be put to use in the maintaining and provison of food of the prisons. Hard Labour should be digging in the garden, growing food and maintaining the gardens. Prisons can haveaward winning gardens. It gives opportunity to prisioners to leave the cells with education in building maintainance etc,
This is a small ‘rumble’ in the jungle!
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