MWILA NTAMBI, Kitwe
MINISTER of Justice Given Lubinda says he will ensure that pregnant and lactating mothers, as well as babies, are not held in
Speaking on Thursday when he, in the company of Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo and some cooperating partners visited Kamfinsa female correctional facility,
Mr Lubinda said it broke his heart to see innocent children confined together with their jailed mothers.
He said as stakeholders gather to review the Prisons Act Cap 97 of the Laws of Zambia, they should find a way of ensuring children stop paying for their mothers’ ‘sins’.
“If there is something that we must not fail to achieve, it is ensuring expectant and lactating mothers are not brought in confinement like this. I feel extremely sad to see innocent children in confinement,” Mr Lubinda said.
He said the mothers might have committed offences but children must not be punished for that.
“We should stop the practice of arresting innocent children. A little baby cannot answer for anything. Please give me the authority to change the law so that children should never again be brought here,” Mr Lubinda said.
Kamfinsa female correctional facility has 66 inmates with seven circumstantial children aged between one year three months and four years.
Meanwhile, Mr Lubinda has promised to follow up requests by inmates serving life sentences to appeal the verdicts but they cannot do so because their records are allegedly lost.
He directed the paralegal officer in charge of Kamfinsa female correctional facility to trace the records to facilitate the appeals.
Mr Lubinda said Government does not want innocent people to languish in correctional facilities and that those who feel their cases were unfairly handled should have their appeals heard on time.
One of the inmates, Peggy Meleka, complained that her case has not been heard since she was arrested last year.
Meleka, who broke down, complained that her children were living like orphans in her absence because of the delay in hearing her case.
She appealed to the minister to ensure cases are tried expeditiously because justice delayed is justice denied.