Tensions are running high in the Malawi’s maximum prison facility in Zomba at the moment after the death of a prison inmate Elisa Mato who was reportedly beaten to death by warders.
The prisoner was reportedly assaulted and tortured by prison warders and taken to Zomba central hospital when he was in bad shape only to be pronounced dead.
Mato, 43 of TA Majawa in Ntcheu district was reportedly attacked by prison officer who included Officer-in-charge Mteya, Mrs Chikungwa a staff officer of acting chief commissioner of Prison.
Another inmate Nunkha is said to be battling for his life after being tortured but prison officials are refusing to take him to hospital,
Prison officers who spoke to Nyasa Times said Mr Chisoso of Zomba Prison Clinic is attending to Nunkha with “limited resources”.
Nunkha as well as the deceased was badly beaten with injuries consistent with torture, Nyasa Times understands.
Prisoners are plotting revenge following the torture and are targeting warders Mwamande, Khembo, Chongwe, Sendeza, Chirunga and Kondwani Matrauza.
“They are demanding change of officer-in-charge, commissioner of prisons and acting chief commissioner of prisons. These are said to be behind the torture,” a source said.
Prison authorities are divided with graduate officers demanding humane treatment of inmates whereas old guards are happy with the status quo of degrading, inhuman and life threatening treatment.
But Malawi Prison Services spokesman Smart Maliro said dismissed the issue.
Maliro said inmate Mato did not die because of assaults and that Nunkha is not being denied medical treatment.
“It is indeed true that prisoner Mato died at Zomba prison but he was suffering from asthma and malaria,” said Maliro.
“He was not beaten as being alleged,” he added.
“Mato has been sick for some time. It’s a natural death and reports of assault should be taken with a pinch of a salt,” Maliro said.
On the tension in Zomba prison, Maliro said he was yet to gather details on the situation.
Conditions in Malawi prisons have been worsening in recent years. A rising prison population and budget cuts have brought the prison close to collapse with security services now on high alert for more incidents following Mato’s death.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :