Zomba prisoners get expired margarine: Unilever says it meant to be used as soap

Prisoners at Zomba maximum prison are angry and want answers on why Unilever Malawi donated expired margarine as Christmas gifts, saying this could be a health hazard.

Chikondi Ng'ombe: The magarine was supposed to be recyled into soap

Chikondi Ng’ombe: The magarine was supposed to be recyled into soap

Some prisoners have complained to their relations that the margarine was donated to the prisoners on December 17 as Christmas gifts.

“Each inmate received four margarines weighing 200milligrams. After they had already eaten, they discovered that the margarine was expired, some of the margarine expired by months others by days,” said a relation to one of the inmates.

Prison spokesman Smart Maliro asked for more time to find out what happened but Unilever country manager Chikondi Ng’ombe confirmed the incident, saying the company had agreed with prison officials that the margarine be used for soap making.

Ng’ombe said the margarine was not meant for consumption but solely for soap making.

“We had agreed that the margarine be recycled to make soap,” said Ng’ombe without elaborating whether the prison has the capacity to recycle margarine into soap.

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66 thoughts on “Zomba prisoners get expired margarine: Unilever says it meant to be used as soap”

  1. Mlomwe waku Thyolo says:

    Ifeyo tingosiyanso kugula margarine a Unilever. Kuteroku margarine anu amasandukanso sopo? Mukumatidyetsa sopotu anthu inu.

  2. NOEL says:

    Ng’ombe ndi ng’ombedi do u tink ku prison angakhale ndi machine opangira recycle margarine to soap?

  3. Harrison Liffa says:

    Does prisons hav the capacity of recycling margarine into soap?

  4. Janta Manta says:

    Ku prison kunayamba kupangidwa soap?just because one is imprisonwd it doesnt mean ndi zinyama!!!

  5. Kanyimbi says:

    Nanunso akayidi nthawi zina kumayamika. Half bread is better than none.

  6. Ed kungs says:

    These are thieves. They sold fresh margarine and donated expired items so that they say we donated the item, and kept the money. Poor Malawi

  7. Tengupenya says:

    When did Zomba Central Prison acquire capacity to recycle margarine to soap? Which officer accepted this proposal from the donor of the margarine? Who changed the intended use of the margarine from recycling into soap to consumption by humans? Were the prisoners told of the fact that the margarine was expired and was intended to be recycled to soap? Were the prisoners given capacity to convert the margarine to soap?

  8. Philip says:

    Lawsuit. I can sniff money here. Please get a competent lawyer like me.

  9. Taps says:

    Its unfortunate that some think prisons are rubbish pits where they can throw garbage..whether you like it or not we are all the same…not every inmate is a thief, murderer,rapist etc..there are also others who are purely innocent. you never know what may happen to you..may God forgive you for trying to worsen their punishment…

  10. Yuzzy says:

    A unilever soap mulinaye ndikale bwanji osatenga soap opangapanga kale? Kulakwa

  11. jojo says:

    A big problem to the Marketing Team. You have a responsibility to clean your company’s reputation otherwise apa yalakwa. May be you thought the prisoners wont complain OR RECOGNIZE THIS ??????

  12. mbwiyache says:

    I tend to wonder, do we have soap making factory at Zomba Central Prison, where is it located anyway? It seems that Prisons authorities are not serious on this issue, why? Mwalandira chani from Unilever, money, items or what?
    Prisoners are humans like everybody else and playing with their lives is totally an unacceptable. This nonsense must stop with immediate effect. Muyezo umene umamuyezera nzako iwenso udzayedzeredwa womwewo. Anybody can be jailed ku ndende kulibe mwini, ena ampitako mwangozi koma asanapalamule kanthu koipa. Watch out the living in Heaven has watched you keenly. Ngati liri a Unilever muli ndi tsoka lalikulu. Amene anapereka decision imeneyi ku Management meeting, 2016 siitha nayenso adzakhala mkaidi (on whatever offence ; mlandu wa kuntchito, kugwirira minor,traffic offence etc), mudzavala foya amwene mudzakudziwa ku Zomba (Malawi’s former Capital City)
    I rest my case.


    Your response madame is far from convincing.It isnt explicit and it all points that you had no answer to the question but you had to give an answer to defend your company regardless of whether the answer was an obvious lie or not. Lets say the margarine was meant for recycling as you claim,why was it directly given to the inmates.Why in your answer didnt you explain that you explained or gave instructions to the prisoner in charges that it was meant to be recycled to soap.The big question you are yet to answer is why give another task to the prison to recycle the commodity not yourself because your aim was to give soap not margarine?Were you assured that the prison had capacity to do the Job. The statement from the prison office that he wanted to enquire first what really happened,meant there was nothing like discussing on the recycling issue.PRISON IS NOT A RUBBISH PIT and dont think in a RUBBISH WAY TO TREAT PEOPLE AS RUBBISHLY AS YOU HAVE DONE.Imwe wa prison dont just sit on the issue,take them to task unless you agreed to give gabbage to people and if you did ‘ndimwe vindele vakufikapo pamoza na wa uniliver’Where is safety here?These people have violated the right of the people.Wa Malawi where are our morals?

  14. Me says:

    CSR gone wrong

  15. Antoni apaphata says:

    These were given to the inmates directly. Who gave them training on how to make soap from margarine. Why could you not just give them soap. Ufiti chiyani?

  16. Woyera Kamanga says:

    Why was it then give to individual prisoners? I hope Ralph kasambara wasnt give some

  17. Jojo says:

    This is very bad PR for UNILEVER. I do hope there was a communication breakdown otherwise you can’t donate expired goods.

  18. Eye Witness says:

    Ndabweranso…kodi iwowo chinawakanika ndichani kungopangiratu soap yo nkuzagawa? Nanu ma Warder sikuti akudyetseni chisikono muyambe kuvomeleza kuti it was for soap making. Ngati amafuna mupange soap why distributing to individuals and not the Prison authorities to oversee the process? Ma company mwazolowera. Amzanu a SOBO Last year anakagawa Orange ???? squash Ku primary school inayake Ku Balaka. It took a brave teacher to discard the whole donation before distributing to the pupils. The school didn’t want to report the matter.

  19. redeemed says:

    It just makes no sense.

  20. zeze says:

    Bodza, Unilever,,,,,,,

  21. Nkhwinkhwi says:

    Okay, okay. Unilever might have botched this one up but that aside, Chikondi is a bright lady. We all make mistakes sometimes. No need for savage comments.

  22. Ambere chile says:

    That’s disgusting and lame excuse for a big establishment like Unilever.

  23. Waxxy says:

    This is ridiculous,on top of it all the manager talks trash does she really know wat she’s saying? Wen u get a job simply coz u took ur panties off to somes boss this is wat u can say on something so serious, lives would have been lost. No one will sue this company and Kapito and friends are asleep, akhuta zimabanzi aaaaa koma Malawi wathuyu shame.

  24. Bololo says:

    Seems like a classic case of communication breakdown

  25. kukhala says:


  26. Anthu akuda says:

    This is bad. Unilever that’s poor show. This is a clear case of turning the prisons into a damping site for expired products. Like the article has already pointed out; does the prison have the capacity to reprocess the expired products into soap? May I take this opportunity to urge CAMA or any other human rights body to get involved in this issue. There is urgent need for fiduciary duty here.

  27. Wokwiya says:

    This is nonsense from Ng’ombe. Can you tell us how margarine can be turned into soap? Why didn’t Unilever simply donate soap? Government needs to intervene and give such unethical companies a lesson

  28. Bwino says:

    They have a soap making plant at Zomba Maximum Prison?

  29. Pitala Paulendo says:

    Ayamba liti kuphika sopo ku prison?
    Prisoners must file for class action lawsuit against Unilever. Only then can every life matter and be viewed as such.

  30. Ingangasyungu Yunyeghela says:

    kkkkk sorry my brothers and sisters

  31. advisory committee says:

    Useless senseless thoughtless Unilever Malawi zoona kuyankha ngati country director wanu wasuta chamba. This is a great mistake let the prisoners sue Unlever

  32. advisory committee says:

    Corporate mistale ayankhe bwino a CAMA talowanipo apa and assist

  33. MaiMai says:

    Hehehe, poor girl so called Country director ameneyu? She cant even give logical answer to this simple Q? Paja dzina ndi “Cow” and the answer typical from a cow indeed.

  34. Joseph Tambala. says:

    On the issue of Unlever company towards prisoners, am totally dissapointed with what the company has done and i wont forgive them. As a big company like it needs not to endanger the lives of already impoverished malawians in prison, had it been that it was intended for soap making they would have pointed out earlier and why distributing it to capita in such amounts?. They needs to address their motives to malawians soon.

  35. KARU UNITED says:

    Osangothokoza, kuti munadyako to zabwino, ngati anali woyipa bwanji osasanza you thieves & rapists. Ndiinu ayaninso inu. A Unilever mukadzakhala ndi wina mudzandipatse ine ndidzagalika yense. Kodi munasiilanji kupanga STORK amene uja ndiye anali majalini osati dzi a blue bandidzi!

  36. Ntchisi girl says:

    I have seen the magarine with my own eyes wina kumachita kuoneka whitish in colour kuli kusintha kwa colour,koma a unilever aonjeza ku prison ndi kotaila zinthu!?? Mukalangidwa ulele inu

  37. Woyera Kamanga says:

    Kodi n’gombe imeneyi yofunika kuyimanga pa mtengo kuti isakaperekeso majarini wakutha.

  38. Ron says:

    Koma abale mpaka 4 per inmate? When did prisoners or prison officers start recycling margarine into soap? Do they have the skills and equipment? CAMA ntchito imeneyo osamangouwa pa zinthu zopanda wake.

  39. padoko says:

    No concern here, everything is expired in Malawi, including the Government in power. Osanamizira expiry date ya margarine the place you are in is a hundred times worse.

  40. Zidura Ntengo Undigwere says:

    This is atrocious, and absolutely unacceptable for Unilever to dump expired food to vulnerable prisoners. Abuse, period.
    Chemists and pharmacists know soap making is complicated; it’s not just a soup mix, with the oils in margarine the major ingredients. The process is pretty heavy on physical chemistry, and appropriate equipment is mandatory.
    Akaidi atopa kudya cabichi wovuwaza ( Living conditions and the food are very bad in our prisons; then this!)

  41. ophiri says:

    you woman, anywhere else in the civilized world, you would have been fired for such a silly explanation. if it were me, i’d be suing your company right now.

    you shouldn’t regard prisoners as animals. they deserve dignity. unless of course they are alumni of university of cashgate, maula campus. those rats can rot in hell.

  42. MDF Solder says:

    Magarine to soap? Do our prisons have machines to recycle Magarine into soap.

    What took you all this time to investigate this issue?

  43. Hansou says:

    You should have made the soap yourselves and given the prisoners the soap!

  44. Gadabwali says:

    Unilever, are sure the prisons have the capacity to recycle margerine into soap? Why did u not turn the margerine into soap yourself? In all fairness you could have done better, ku prison sikumtaya ayi!

  45. Koma ????? says:

    Dont lie… how can you distribute margarine to prisoners for making soap.. the warders could then have received soap not margarine!
    Do prisoners make soap on their own using margarine????… hheheheh mwayaluka Unilever! hehehehehe

  46. MHELIWA says:



  47. Tanamizanapotu apa, ndiye poti tatulukiridwa tikufuna kupeza ka excuse. Koma osamapanga choncho ayi.

  48. Bonkers says:

    We will make sure that there’s a government inquisition into this scandal. Why subject prisoners to this inhumane and barbaric situation.

  49. Dumi says:

    Unilever, why didn’t you make the soap yourself. Can the prison manage to recycle the margarine into soap? Prisoners are also humans just as you are. If you wanted a corporate social responsibility why not donating right stuff??? And how did the soap raw material ended into peoples’ stomach?

  50. mtubzitubzu kumputa mkunkhudza says:

    Naweso chome akumakuntchula kuti ndi country director wa uniliverwe chenzeru chomwe wanenapo apapa ndichiyani? Kundende kumapezeka ma tools opangira soap? Eeee? Osamapanga zinthu zawugalu abale anthu amene ali kundende ali nawoso ufulu olekezedwa osati chifukwa choti ali mundende ndiye azidya matubzi anuwo. Boma pliz do some on dis matter pliz

  51. Chong Weng Chooo says:

    Tamangodyani zimenezo inu simungafe nazo mxiiii

  52. Ojambula says:

    Chikondi Ng’ombe, sometimes it is good for one to accept the responsibility of making a mistake and apologise and we forge ahead as a nation which is God fearing. Between the Prison and Unilever, which organisation has the capacity of recycling the expired margarine into soap? If your aim was to donate soap, why did you just go there with some tablets of soap since your company does manufacture it? Prisons should moti be your dumping places all because those people are in cells, they are also human beings just like you. Love them the way you would love your children, brothers and sisters otherwise God’s wrath will be upon you.

  53. mtubzitubzu kumputa mkunkhudza says:

    Koma inu ndagalu ndinthu a uniliver zowona mukuwatenga akaidi ngati nkhumba?

  54. Max nsani says:

    The shocking thing here is not that the margarine was expired, but that these fuckers are given margarine in the first place. If hospitals are making law abiding and innocent patients bring their own food or asking guardians to buy food from the hospital cafeteria, why can’t the same be extended to these law breakers?

  55. Moffat Kapherachoka says:

    I think the consumer association should be involved. Why is this country director damaging the image of unilever? Heads must roll at Unilever!

  56. ada manda says:

    Chikondi ndi mwana mumvetseni. It was supposed to be sum kids day out but she forgot to mention it. Its surely a kid’s honest mistake. But she has realised her mistake let Bilever continue fleecing us. So these products are interchangeable margarine to soap then toilet tissue then sanitary pads then tea bags. Value addition in the right sense of it. Tell me when they are sued I will be party to it.

  57. Observer (AKA Prison monger) says:

    Malawi Police, isnt this a conduct likely to cause bleach of peace!!!!!!!?????

  58. The Most Concerned says:

    I can see the youngest but senseless Unilever Country Director so called Chikondi Ng’ombe resigning from her Job voluntarily inorder to pave way 4 Investigations.

  59. George phiri says:

    Zomba prison yatsogola!!! Mpakana soap manufacturing??????? Kunena kwakuti country director.

  60. Mbuya says:

    Unilever is not serious one i bought cooking oil which had a bad smell i called them promised to come back to me up to now am still waiting some 5 months ago

  61. The Analyst says:

    Many of us do this. When donating clothes to the poor in the name of charity, we look for the skimpy, worn-out, colour-can’t-tell and tasteless clothes and to the poor, give. Mhhh!! Know this that . . .

    “A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the meat shared with the dog on the table when you are just as hungry as the dog.” – Jack London
    . . . You mean captive-holding as this woman looks, she wears a crocodile’s heart and find comfort in that cheap alibi? Since when have our prisons; soap-manufacturing or recycling plants? How come the prisoners look dingy and are always malodorous? This is bad!
    . . . Life is precious, be it of a prisoner, the free, the rich, the poor, the nonentities e.t.c and should therefore be treated as such.

    You could have done better Ng’ombe!

  62. Ma says:

    Is this so called country director ok or has gone mad? So this is country director Unilever Malawi? ??? Hehehe even a form 2 guy can’t answer such stupidity. ..iiiish mw ingatukuke chonchi? This girl is simply rubbish. .maybe she is bleeding, hence the answer???

  63. GRM says:

    This is careless. Who is better placed to make soap between prisons and Uniliver?

  64. TUDZI says:



  65. bk phiri says:

    Donner’s should take us for granted and even our own company ichitenso chimodzimodzi….seriously something has to be done on this issue.

  66. Prison Warden says:


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