Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Nixon Chilangwa, has attributed some of the jail breaks in the country to the poor state of infrastructure in prisons.
Speaking during a tour of Kaoma State Prison yesterday, Mr Chilangwa, who is also Kawambwa Member of Parliament, said there is need to upscale the state of prisons in the country if the situation is to be reversed.
He said government will this year be launching an infrastructural programme aimed at uplifting the working standards of prison staff and improving inmates’ living conditions.
Mr Chilangwa said government is equal to the task of improving prison facilities as evidenced by the opening of Mwembeshi Prison, adding that Kalabo and Luwingu Prisons will soon be opened.
He said he was elated that the food situation in prisons has improved, adding that there is need for inmates to be treated fairly as they are fellow human beings.
And Kaoma State Prison Officer-In-Charge, Davies Mulenga, said the prison is currently housing 139 inmates, two of whom are females.
Mr Mulenga said the prison now has adequate food though it was still facing transport and water challenges.
And speaking earlier, during a joint briefing at Kaoma District Commissioner’soffice, Mr Chilangwa said Mayukwayukwa refugee camp is not closing down despite the local integration programme as it is still host to people from other countries whose status remains that of refugee.
He explained that under the local integration programme, refugees are not being granted Zambian citizenship but are being merely given residence permits to enable them do certain things they were not able to do as refugees.
Meanwhile, United Nations High Commission for Refugees resident representative, Laura Lo Castro, said her organization has moved the oversight and management of the refugee project from Muyukwayukwa to Kaoma in order to empower the local people in the area.
Ms Lo Castro said the UNHCR realizes that the district has in the past been neglected and it is thus moving its regional office from Mongu to Kaoma and is currently looking for a suitable location for that purpose.
She said, under the local integration programme, Zambians will be the first people to move to the resettlement schemes and, therefore, there will be a lot of work to be done by the District Commissioner’s office.