Saturday, June 15, 2024

President Hichilema Pardons Over 1,000 Inmates in Honor of Africa Freedom Day

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File picture: INMATES at Solwezi central prison sing gospel
music in appreciation after Youth and Sports Deputy minister Stephen
Masumba (not in picture) donated assorted soccer kits including pairs
of jerseys and footballs to Solwezi prisons football team in Solwezi

In a gesture to commemorate Africa Freedom Day, President Hakainde Hichilema has pardoned 1,005 inmates. Acting Home Affairs Minister Ambrose Lufuma announced the development in Lusaka.

Mr. Lufuma detailed that the pardoned individuals include 939 ordinary inmates, 39 elderly inmates, eight women with circumstantial children, and four foreign nationals. Additionally, 15 inmates had their sentences commuted, a reflection of the President’s prerogative of mercy as stipulated under Article 97 of the Constitution.

This significant act aims to address overcrowding in Zambia’s correctional facilities, where the inmate population currently stands at 28,225 against a holding capacity of 10,650. The government is also expanding open-air correctional centers, such as the nearly completed Nansanga Correctional Centre in Serenje, which will accommodate 1,600 inmates.

The government is further implementing measures like non-custodial sentences for minor offenses and improving legal aid to alleviate overcrowding.

Mr. Lufuma emphasized the importance of community support in reintegrating the pardoned inmates, urging families and the public to welcome them back and give them a second chance.

Below is the full Press Statement

Press Statement by the Acting Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security on the Special Presidential Release of Inmates

To commemorate Africa Freedom Day, His Excellency Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force, has exercised his prerogative of mercy by pardoning 1,005 inmates. The inmates pardoned are categorized as follows: 939 ordinary inmates, 39 elderly inmates, eight female inmates with circumstantial children, four foreign nationals, and 15 inmates whose sentences have been commuted. Out of the 15 inmates whose sentences have been commuted, two are lifers and 13 are long-term inmates. Among the pardoned, 943 are males and 62 are females. These inmates are from various prisons and correctional centres across the country.

This action by the President is in exercise of the powers conferred on him by the Constitution, pursuant to Article 97 of the Constitution Chapter One of the Laws of Zambia, which provides for presidential pardon and substitution of severe punishments imposed on convicted persons.

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, overcrowding in correctional facilities remains a source of concern to the government. As of 06:00 hours this morning, May 24, 2024, the inmate population stood at 28,225, against the holding capacity of 10,650.

To address overcrowding in prisons and correctional centres, the government is expanding open-air correctional centres across the country, some of which include Nansanga in Serenje, Mwomboshi in Chisamba, and many others. Once completed, Nansanga Correctional Centre, which stands at 90% completion, will have a holding capacity of 1,600 inmates, increasing the holding capacity to 11,250 inmates from the current 10,650. The government is also promoting the imposition of non-custodial sentences for minor offenses and the continued granting of police bond to decongest police cells, and bail on flexible conditions, for bailable offenses.

Further, the government has also established legal aid desks in prisons and correctional centres to allow accused persons access to legal services at the point of need.

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, the pardoning of women with circumstantial children is in line with the address by the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, on the progress made in the application of the national values and principles delivered to the third session of the thirteenth National Assembly on Friday, March 15, 2024, and the presidential directive issued to the Commissioner General during the pass-out parade in Nyango, Kaoma, on September 29, 2023, regarding separating circumstantial children and juveniles by providing them with alternative accommodation away from correctional centres.

Further, to address the welfare of children found in conflict with the law, the government has incorporated the Juvenile Act into the Children’s Code Act No. 12 of 2022, which demands that children should not be in the same parameter with adult inmates of mixed categories.

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, I am glad to inform the nation that the presidential directive to find alternative accommodation away from correctional centres has been secured with the support of the Ministry of Infrastructure Housing and Urban Development and will be launched in the next few weeks.

On behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, the Zambia Correctional Service staff, inmates, and indeed on my own behalf, I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency the President, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, for exercising his prerogative of mercy on the said inmates. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security and staff of the Zambia Correctional Service are confident that the pardoned persons have been rehabilitated and are ready for reintegration into society.

Successful reintegration of former inmates is, however, largely dependent on the support of members of the immediate families and communities of the former inmates. We accordingly call upon the families of the pardoned inmates and members of the public at large to support the former inmates by not discriminating against them. It is essential to give the pardoned a second chance to find their feet as law-abiding citizens.

Hon. Ambrose L. Lufuma, MP
Acting Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security
24th May, 2024
Lusaka

11 COMMENTS

  1. Not sure who advises our president. But this was a chance for him to show goodwill and seriousness by pardoning Nakachinda who was arrested for defamation of the President, a law that he scrapped off.
    But no.

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    • Justice should not be for the rich. This day will come again next year, so let him wait so that he feels what ordinary citizens feel

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    • It is such mentality that makes us be where we are today. What is so special about Nakachinda? Only reformed inmates should be pardoned. What makes you think Nakachinda is reformed to deserve the pardon?

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    • 1000,out of how many innocent Zambians? So he pardoned just because the test-article of constitution says so? He didn’t do on good faith.
      If was a genuine pardon from his heart, then he should have just closed down all those fvcking prisons.

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    • Doug and Timbwi, you misunderstand me. The issue isn’t about whether Nakicinda has saved his punishment or not. It is about the sincerity of HH in removing criminal defamation of the president.
      If he meant it, now is the chance for him to prove to us that he was serious.

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  2. @ Uncle Spider, Nakachinda was NOT convicted for defamation of the President.
    He was convicted of criminal defamation of a named person who happens to be the President.
    He would have faced the same consequences if he defamed you or anyone else.
    Please people, before you go writing comments, know what you are talking about and make sure you understand the law.
    Nakachinda made a statement knowing it to be false and no time seeking to correct that falsehood.

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  3. Lol, I should also challenge you sir, because he was convicted for defamation of the President.
    Please you do YOUR homework before you start trying to correct people without facts. The magistrates Court is a court open to the public. Read any article on Nakinda and tell me what he was arrested and subsequently convicted for. You are welcome.

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  4. It’s so unfortunate that even a day like this one, people who are advising the president are still showing their ignorance.out of 28 plus,you can’t remove a 1000,this is total ignorance.all the previous presidents have been removing more than 3000 on a day like this one.kaya mwandi, this tendency…..

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