14 November 2012

Zambia: Veep Assures Prisoners of Safety

THE Government will ensure human rights are observed for prisoners by providing them with a decent and dignified environment, Vice-President Guy Scott has said.

Dr Scott said Government will urgently address challenges that prisons were facing country-wide such as erratic water supply, congestion and poor diet.

The Vice-President, who is Lusaka Central Member of Parliament (MP), said this yesterday at Lusaka Central Prison when he addressed inmates during a tour of water projects in his constituency.

He was happy that there was uninterrupted water supply at the Lusaka Central Prison following the installation of a water pump.

"We will ensure that we make life for prisoners more decent as we are committed to observing human rights. Even though some of you are fit to be released into society, we will ensure that you live a decent and respectable life here in prison and not live as animals," he said.

Dr Scott was grateful that Independence ward 14, Ward Development Committee (WDC) chairperson, Febby Jere worked tirelessly to ensure that a K450 million water pump was installed to supply water to Lusaka Central Prison, Highland House and part of old Sikanze Police Camp.

The water pump in Sikanze Camp was installed and procured with the help of Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC), Zambia Prisons Service and the Zambia Police Service.

The funds for the project were donated by SIDA, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and Ward Development Fund.

He assured the prisoners that a wall would be erected around the prison from the recently disbursed 2012 CDF.

And some female prisoners appealed to Government to consider deporting a South African prohibited immigrant who was suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) in prison.

The inmate who was on Anti-Retroviral treatment had been awaiting deportation for more than four months.

Beatrice Hagwende, who spoke on behalf of the inmates also appealed to Government to create an isolation cell for pregnant convicted women and those with babies as putting them in one cell endangered their babies from contracting TB.

Dr Scott also visited Sikanze Camp, where Inspector-General of Police, Stella Libongani told him that other areas of the camp were still not accessing water because the pipes were dilapidated.

LWSC managing director, George Ndongwe said his company was yet to carry out an assessment in order to replace the water reticulation system in the camp.

Earlier, the Vice-President handed over 14 vehicles to 14 members of the Crossroads Multi-purpose Cooperative, also in his constituency.

The 14 members got a loan in form of vehicles, Toyota Spacios, from a Ndola-based leasing company.

The vehicles are intended for use as taxis.

The members are required to pay for the vehicles at a rate of K1 million every month for the next three years.

Dr Scott urged the members to be committed to the repayment programme so that others could benefit from the scheme.

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