Malawi prisoners have asked President Peter Mutharika to prioritise sick and elderly inmates when pardoning prisoners.
James Mpondabwino who is representative of inmates at Blantyre Prison – formerly Chichiri Prison – made the remarks when First Lady Gertrude Mutharika visited the prisoners on Friday.
Mpondabwino said pardoning of the inmates should be based on good behaviour of the inmates.
“We ask you to relay our message to the president that pardoning should be prioritised to the elderly and the sick,” Mpondabwino said.
He also asked the First Lady to consider providing educational and vocational skills materials for them to find something tangible to do for their daily living to avoid indulging in bad behaviours.
In her reaction, the First Lady promised to take the concerns to the president.
During her visit, Mutharika donated assorted items which included cooking oil, soap, sugar, notebooks, packed lunch as well as some soft drinks.
She told the prisoners that she is aware that they miss their families and advised them to be hopeful saying things will be better.
“You should not lose hope just because you are here. Take an example of Job in the Bible who lost everything within a short period of time but because he trusted God, he was given more blessings after the trial. One day everything shall be better, just put your trust in the almighty,” said Mutharika.
She urged the prison warders to treat the inmates with utmost care considering that they were the only family available for the inmates.
Blantyre Prison, formerly Chichiri was constructed to accommodate about 500 inmates but currently has 1900.
According to Chief Commissioner of Malawi Prisons Wandika Phiri, the current situation at the facility was affecting the living conditions of the inmates.
Phiri, however, was quick to mention that she was grateful for the increased budgetary allocation to Malawi Prisons, saying it has helped solve some of the problems in most correctional facilities in the country.
The event was spiced with performances by Prison Strings Band, Blantyre Prison Dance Troupe and gospel songbird, Phallyce Mang’anda.