….as opposed to punishment says Amb Mukwita to DW
Zambia has joined the rest of the international community in embarking on measures that shall focus more on reforming offenders as opposed to punishment said Ambassador Anthony Mukwita.
The Zambian envoy to Germany was defending Zambia which has been named as one of the countries that has over-populated prisons in Africa during an interview with German public broadcaster DW in Bonn on Friday.
“Zambia wants to concentrate more on reforming offenders in holding facilities rather than punishing them,” said Ambassador Mukwita.
Ambassador Mukwita was reacting to a DW story of Innocent Kalaluka, a Zambian young man that had spent months in detention before going for trial and eventually being declared innocent.
He said President Edgar Lungu’s government has already shown open commitment to build new holding facilities that shall measure up to international standards and prepare reformed offenders for their eventual re-integration back into society once they have served their sentences.
“The Zambian President as a lawyer before becoming a politician represented people that were offenders and we know his maxim has always been that he would rather see 10 guilty people walk free than witness and innocent man spend more time that necessary in jail,” said Ambassador Mukwita.
The senior diplomat said Zambia was doing much better than most countries in Africa regarding reforms because it does not hide information but readily makes it available to its own Human Rights Commission, Amnesty international, etc.
It is President Lungu’s desire to systematically address challenges regarding space in prisons, employ more magistrates and judges in order to lessen the ‘justice queues’ according to Ambassador Mukwita.
The diplomat also gave an example of president Edgar Lungu having recently commuted to life more than 100 death row inmates instead of sanctioning their execution.
Caption: DW Head of Africa section Claus Stacker, Ambassador Anthony Mukwita and interviewer Eddy Micah Jr.