Prisoner’s death sparks tension at Malawi’s maximum prison

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.

A prison officer checks the prisoners in their cell before locking them for the night. Overcrowding is a critical problem in Malawian jails. — Photo by Luca Sola/MSF
Prisoners plot revenge action

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.

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5 years ago

They are no different than those police officers in South Africa killing innocent foreigners. Ntchito yake ndiye it? Yomweyi ya MSCE ndi ma 50 points anuwo?. You are no different from a them. They should be punished for this, don’t try to cover it up by saying amadwala , thus being inhuman. He was a father, son, uncle to his relatives. Muzafa infa yowawa

5 years ago

Macholowe sanamenyedwepo chifukwa anali wa ndalama nde ankawanyemera. Ma officers onsewa awone polekera….nyumba zawo zotsegula ndi mwendo zija….. fotseki. Amazunza kwa amene alibe ndalama.

5 years ago

Ngati wakhala akudwala for sometime bwanji simunantengere ku chipatala. Komanso asthma ndi yovuta there are many there with the same problem but you forget all these. The time they are there ndi chilango kale nde sikuti mudziwaunza as if analakwila malamulo a mmakomo mwanu. Treat them well after serving their sentences adzipita. Prison warders and police officers are like that. Koma they are forgetting kuti kuno ndi kunja……. Amalizenitu onsewo tione if you will have a job. Government please anthuwa adzisinthana asamakhalitse pa malo. Ku Limbe Police nde worse, they are human beings tisamayiwale aliyense amalakwa. A cash gate bwanji… Read more »

5 years ago

Where is Human Right? now we will see Prisongate Shame on Malawians for killing their own people. We should not blame foreigners for their ill treatment.

Tent man
Tent man
5 years ago

let your will be done.
finish them all.
kuti mwina mitima yanu ingakhale mmalo.

5 years ago
Reply to  Tent man

Aterodi…..ku malawi timazunzana kwambiri and yet malo ake osakhala bwino komanso kudya koperewera. Chommenyera ndi chani, mumadziwa asthma inu? Amakhalamo bwanji monunkha ngati mmenemomo? Aliyense amalakwa enanu muli ndi achibale a police so you are immuned to the cells.

Koma time will come.

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