Malawi Prison warders defy call to return to work

Striking prison warders on Monday a call from Home Affairs and Internal Security minister Grace Chiumia to return to work as senior
government officials were meeting at the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to find a lasting solution.

Prison warder demonstration to express their anger at Zomba Central Prison

The prison warders blocked the road to Maula Prison in Lilongwe, chanted protest songs, danced whilst others wore masks as they burnt
car tyres as the strike went into the fourth day.

Sources privy to the high-level meeting at OPC in Lilongwe which included Home Affairs and Internal Security principal secretary Sam
Madula, OPC principal secretary Zangazanga Chikhosi, top officials from Treasury and Prison Departments were close to finding a deal.

The striking prison warders want the ranks at prison to be at par with those of their colleagues at police and Immigration department, saying the current status quo leaves them K20, 000 and more less in monthly salary.

On Saturday, Chiumia was at Zomba Maximum Prison where striking prisoners blocked her from entering the prison premises.

This was barely a day after she was blocked from entering Maula Prison in Lilongwe as she wanted to address them in a bid to request them abandon the strike and enter into dialogue on their grievances.

A senior prison official said Chiumia managed to talk to the warders through a mesh wire but the representatives of the striking warders
walked out on her as the two parties could not agree on some issues.

“The prison warders want the government to put it in writing when exactly they would get what they want, they want an exact date and in
writing,” said our source.

Among others, the prison warders want their prison warder ranks be harmonised together with the police and Immigration ranks so that
positions are at par.

Chiumia has promised the government would work out on the grievances with speed but said the matter involves a lot of stakeholders which
include the OPC and Treasury.

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