A High Court judge has pressed an SOS button for urgent action over 37 Ethiopian child offenders at Kachere Reformatory Centre in Lilongwe, saying they are increasing getting malnourished due to lack of food.
Judge Fiona Mwale, who is chairperson of Child Review Board, a board mandated to look into problems of child offenders in prisons said the budget cuts faced in prisons as negatively affected the foreign child offenders who do not have relatives in Malawi.
“The situation at Kachere Reformatory Centre is very pathetic. They cook using old tyres because of lack of firewood. They have to go begging for old tyres to use as firewood. They only eat once a day because of lack of food. These Ethiopian child offenders are getting malnourished because of lack of food,” said Mwale.
She said when she went there last week, the centre was preparing food using firewood donated by another prison, Maula.
Mwale said another problem is congestion, saying the juvenile offenders hardly have space to sleep because the original intake is up by 200 per cent.
She also wondered why the government is not relocating the centre to another building, saying the building can collapse any time.
“We are sitting on a time bomb awaiting disaster. That building was condemned long ago that it is not fit for human occupation,” said Mwale.
Government officials could not make immediately comments on what Mwale said.
However every sector of government has been severely hit by financial problems with the aid freeze, among other key factors forcing public hospitals suspend food rations to patients.
Mwale said Kachere Reformatory Centre is literally relying on handouts for its sustainability, a situation she said is very worrisome.