A study by four university academics has found that on average the Malawi's 12,000 prisoners receive just 17% of the recommended daily food provision and that 89% of them are severely food insecure. A prominent prison rights activists has blamed erratic government funding for the scandal, saying that it has made approved foodstuff suppliers reluctant to enter supply contracts with the prisons. By Thokozani Chenjezi, Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi, for AMABHUNGANE.
"We need to change government's mindset," said Victor Mhango, of the Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance. "They think prisoners are not entitled to human rights because they committed offences, forgetting that we are all potential candidates."
Said one of the prisoners interviewed by the Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi (CIJM): "The government takes the hunger situation as a norm, so I don't see anything changing."
One consequence of food shortage is corruption. Inmates told CIJM that the cooks, who are recruited from among the prisoners, demand monetary or other bribes to provide larger portions, and that those that lack the means to pay suffer the worst pangs of hunger.
The inmates also said that the cooks themselves and the head prisoners, known as nnyapala, receive...