|Zambia's president Edgar Lungu|
July 16, 2015: Zambia's President Edgar Lungu reduced the sentence of 332 prisoners awaiting death by hanging to life imprisonment to ease maximum security prison congestion.
During a visit to Mukobeko Maximum Security prison, about 180 km north of Lusaka, Lungu said it was unacceptable for a prison with a capacity of 51 inmates to house hundreds.
"It goes without saying that this is an affront to basic human dignity apart from the health and sanitation challenges that it has created," Lungu said.
Crimes that could be punishable by death include murder, treason and robbery with a deadly weapon, although Zambia has not executed any prisoners since 1997.
Source: Reuters, July 16, 2015
Lungu substitutes death sentences
President Edgar Lungu has commuted death sentences to life imprisonment of all the 332 inmates at Mukobeko Maximum Prison in Kabwe.
Meanwhile President Lungu has also pardoned musician Clifford Dimba commonly known as General Kanene and has appointed him his ambassador for the fight against gender violence.
President Lungu says he is aware that there is congestion in most prisons across the country and that government is doing everything possible to find way of decongested the Prisons.
The President says his government is committed to ensuring that standards in Prisons and conditions of Prisoners are in line with the United Nations Standards and other international protocols.
President Lungu says government is determined to amending the Zambia Prisons Service Act Cap 97 to include provisions that will facilitate the construction of prisons on a Private Public Partnership basis.
The Head of State said this will not only address congestion in Prisons but also improve infrastructure and general facilities for inmates.
President Lungu was speaking when he addressed inmates at Mukobeko Maximum prison in Kabwe this morning.
Prisons Care and Counseling Association -PRISCCA- Executive Director Godfrey Malembeka has hailed President Edgar Lungu for communicating the death penalty of 332 prisoners to life sentence.
Mr. Malembeka says President Lungu has uplifted the spirits of Zambians who have been calling for the abolition of the death penalty.
He has told ZNBC News in a Telephone Interview that the Prisons should not just be an institution for execution of offenders but also a correctional one.
And Zambia Association of Musicians -ZAM- president, Njoya Tembo has praised President Lungu for pardoning Musician Clifford Dimba also known as General Kanene.
Mr Tembo has however cautioned General Kanene not to disappoint the President but take his counsel seriously.
Mr. Tembo told ZNBC News in Lusaka that the association will support Kanene in his work as an ambassador for the fight against Gender Based Violence .
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