Since the junior staff of the Malawi Judicially started their strike three months ago, suspects on remand and prisoners at Maula prison in the capital of Malawi have been living in fear for their lives. But with the end of the industrial action announced on Sunday by the chief secretary Mr Bright Msaka inmates will still wait little been longer to be taken to court as the courts have to put their house in order after the court have resumed .
The industrial action caused a backlog of pending civil and criminal cases which have left the country’s prisons to be flooded with inmates.
An Investigation conducted in one of the country’s main prisons, Maula, has indicated that there has been an increase in number of deaths and sickness amongst the inmates due to congestion.
One of the convicted inmate who opted for anonymity and is serving a ten year sentence for armed robbery said in an interview that currently, numbers of deaths have increased to almost three per week since the strike started.
“Maula prison is a hell on earth, its has become death trap u can imagine 3 of our inmates which I can even name them have been dying per week and with the purse of death I don’t have any hope that I will survive said a prisoner.
Recently, Maula prison spokesperson Andrew Nyondo was quoted in the local media as saying that instead of keeping 800 inmates the cells are keeping 2.5 thousand people.
One of the country’s human rights activists, Reverend Macdonald Sembereka said every person is entitled to life- life is so scares and that people must be protected and provided with the much needed treatment in such situations.
Sembereka described the situation is barbaric and unacceptable as Even a worst criminal deserves respect.
“This condition is however contravening the nation that a suspect is assumed innocent until proven guilty by the competent court of law as some remanded are dying before they are brought to justice.”
But prison spokesperson Andrew Nyondo denied that the number of inmates dying in the prisons has risen over the past two months.
“if it is indeed true, then it meant that they die at the hospital not at the prison.”
Reminded that a prisoner is still regarded as such even if he or she is in the hospital, Nyondo said it is the prisons wish to see into it that every inmate lives a health life.
On their capacity to control the spreading of diseases, Nyondo said they have put in place measures and that those who are sick are quickly referred to the hospital for treatment.
During the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 fiscal year budgets, government allocated money for the construction of a new prison in the Lilongwe but up to now, nothing has taken place.