Death row inmates cry for ‘lost’ files

Kamfisa prison

DEATH row inmates at Kabwe’s Maximum Prison, have urged President Edgar Lungu to institute investigations into their missing files.
Meanwhile, the Home Affairs Ministry has given the Zambia Prisons K4.6 million for the construction of a maize shed near Kalonga Milling Plant in Kabwe.
The prisoners asked Government to ensure that the issue of missing court files is investigated and dealt with swiftly to avoid the long period inmates have to wait to appear in court on appeal.
The inmates made the appeal when Home Affairs Minister Davis Mwila toured the facility on Saturday.
At the death row section, inmates said though they were happy with Government resolve to treat prisoners as humanely as possible, the State needs to go beyond this commitment and establish why there are delays in appeal cases.

They wanted to know why it took as long as seven years in some instances for an appeal hearing in the Supreme Court.
James Musonda, who spoke for others, said there is need to establish the whereabouts of his and other inmates’ records.
Musonda said the Judiciary should explain if the delays to appear in court are due to the missing records.
Others, who had their sentences commuted from death to life sentences, said they were grateful but still needed their files to be located.
“I want to let you know that I stayed in the condemned section for 12 years without knowing what will happen because I am among those whose records went missing,” one of them said.

In response, Mr Mwila assured that Government will resolve challenges the prisons are facing, such as overcrowding among others.
He said the Government is also addressing accommodation, transport and other equipment hindering operations for prisons, police, immigration and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).
On the construction of the K4.6 million maize shed near Kalonga milling plant, Mr Mwila said Government had committed itself to ensuring it supports such programmes which in turn would improve agriculture productivity.
He paid tribute to the prison command for utilising the K22 million it was allocated, by purchasing 13 tractors and other agriculture equipment.