President Hakainde Hichilema says government is determined to improve the condition of correctional facilities (prisons) in the country.
Hichilema said it was unacceptable for the criminal justice system in the country to allow the delayed disposal of cases by the courts of law
He was speaking at Lusaka Central Correctional Facility on Monday where he participated in the painting of Cell 16 as part of community service in commemoration of the UPND Administration’s two year anniversary.
The Cell was infamous for housing him when he was arrested in 2017 during his opposition days.
The President said his incarceration revealed to him the need for correctional facilities to be improved.
The Head of State said it was part of God’s plan for him to be locked up so that he may contribute to the improvement of the plight of inmates in future.
Hichilema assured the inmates that his administration could never forget their plight.
“Since you voted for us, thank you for voting for us. We want to remind you that we can never forget you,” he affirmed.
The President urged the Minister of Justice, Mulambo Haimbe, to spearhead changes in the criminal justice system so that cases can be disposed off quickly.
“Use the office (Minister of Justice) that I gave you to quickly reform the criminal justice system,” he said.
“When you arrest somebody, you must be ready to take them to court. That’s the criminal justice system we want.”
Meanwhile, Zambia Correctional Services (ZCS) Commissioner General, Frederick Chilukutu, commended government for the efforts made toward improving correctional facilities in the country.
Chilukutu said ZCS had received unprecedented support from government under the current administration.
He disclosed that the institution had distributed 50 thousand blankets to inmates countrywide.
“I would like to report that the Zambia Correctional Service has distributed to inmates 50 thousand blankets, 25 thousand mattresses and produced bunk beds that were procured with government support,” Chilukutu said.
Earlier, a male inmate at the correctional facility, Castrol Dandawa thanked the President for abolishing the death penalty.
Dandawa asked the President to intervene in the slow disposing of cases in the courts of law.
He disclosed that some inmates had been locked up for 12 years without being sentenced owing the pace at which the criminal justice system had been operating.
Lusaka Central Correctional Facility commonly known as Chimbokaila houses a combined number of 1,400 inmates male and female inmates.
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