Judiciary Strike: Malawi’s Prisons Hell on Earth
As Malawi’s judiciary strike enters second month, findings by zodiak online show that congestion in prisons and police cells has reached alarming levels where TB and HIV positive inmates are being forced to sleep on top of another.
The development is making new remandees to contract various diseases especially TB.
“At Mzuzu prison the situation has forced authorities to mix inmates suffering from TB with other inmates due to lack of space,” reports Steve Zimba from the northern region city
At Zomba maximum security prison, there are 177 remandees and over 2,000 prisoners all packed in a jail designated for 800 inmates.
At Maula prison in Lilongwe, spokesperson Andrew Nyondo admits the number of remandees has reached a record level hitting over 600. The prison which was built for only 800 inmates now has 2,100 of them.
“Currently cells that accommodate 60 or 80 inmates have 160 of them” Nyondo told zodiak online.
At Chichiri prison in Blantyre Rodrick Sinoya confirmed with prison spokesperson Hariet Makawa that apart from shortage of space the prison has been constrained in its budget.
She says initially they would budget for 1,500 inmates but now the cells which were constructed to house 800 inmates have close to 2,000 prisoners.
Meanwhile, stakeholders at a meeting on primary justice taking place in Zomba have called on government to resolve the Judiciary support staff strike that has resulted in congestion in police and prison cells.
The district steering committee comprises the Malawi Police Service, Malawi Prisons, the courts, traditional authorities as well as the civil society leaders.
The court workers have been on strike for over a month and there is no progress in attempts to resolve the industrial action.—Zodiak Online