The Malawi government has been blamed for the murder that occurred at Mzuzu prison where an inmate killed another prisoner while fighting for space and food at the facility.
Some prisoners who saw the murder happening, told our reporter on Wednesday that the two could not have reached the extent of fighting if government had answered the prisoners’ cry on the problem of congestion which has been affecting the facility for close to four years now.
They went on to trash prison authorities for combining people on remand and those already serving sentences saying the practice is fuelling shortage of food and congestion at the facility.
“They couldn’t have fought to that extent, just that now a day we are very congested here so they were fighting for space. I remember telling you the media people last year that we are very congested here but until now government is coy to respond to our cry,” said one inmate pleading for anonymity.
Another prisoner echoed the sentiments saying the prison has really turned into hell such that most of prisoners are now prone to several diseases due to the same congestion but authorities are still reluctant to ease the problem despite several calls.
“In fact, we fight every day. I tell you now every day is the survival of the fittest game for one to find good space to sleep. Situations have changed here,” he added.
Information gathered by this paper on the murder that happened at the facility shows that both the victim and the murderer were fighting for space in the prison’s male toilets after all the space had been occupied by their colleagues.
“They were fighting for the remaining space (about an inch) to sleep on. The two were very adamant on that thus the fight proceeded into the death of one prisoner who was overpowered,” said a prisoner who claimed to have witnessed the bout.
Public relations officer for the prison Ausine Mwasangwale confirmed the development to Malawi24 on Wednesday and identified the murderer as 25 year-old Muda Mhango and the victim as 40 year-old Abel Jere.
He added that the murderer was on remand waiting to answer charges of another murder case while the deceased was only serving a sentence on causing unlawful wounding.
“The issue has since been handed over to the police who are expected to investigate the whole issue appropriately,” said Mwasangwale.
When contacted, northern region police publicist Maurice Chapola said he is aware of the incident but said they are still investigating the matter.
Separate findings indicate that Mzuzu prison is now home to about 600 inmates, a number which is against the facility’s recommended capacity of 200 inmates.
Before publishing this article, the minister of home affairs was yet to respond to an email questionnaire we sent him on the issue.