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Mathew Mohan: From death row to freedom


MATHEW Mohan, a business guru in his own right, ended up on death row at Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility in Kabwe after being convicted of murder, a conviction he, nonetheless, describes as persecution. He was pardoned by former President Edgar Lungu in August, after spending nearly a decade behind bars. In part two of the interview I had with him after his release, he narrates his life-changing experience in prison and discusses the three books he authored while serving his prison sentence. How has been the reception and reaction from society since you were pardoned? The first question I will ask back to society is, what was the intention of sending me to prison?  I think the government and the Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) need to get closer to society so that they get to understand that ZCS has a huge responsibility in transforming a human being. The correctional service has been underfunded because of the perception that when people are taken to prison they are thrown to be finished. But the intention of taking someone to prison is not to finish them but to make them, and I will ask society a question; when President Hakainde Hichilema was a detainee, the environment that he was put in, was it meant to harm him or was it meant to make him a better leader? So when we ask that question, it has serious dimensional issues that come in. The correctional service has a huge mandate and, please, let us respect the institution. These people are doing so much and yet they are receiving so little. You are praising doctors who have a mandate to treat patients, praising teachers who sit to teach children, but a correctional officer who has been given a human being to reform is ignored. At this point I would like to ask President Hichilema, who is a former detainee himself, to recognise the correctional service. ZCS needs support from Government, non-governmental organisations, and the international community for the correctional service officers to have better conditions [of service] as they carry out their important mandate of transforming lives. What kind of support did you receive from both business associates and family while in prison? This one is a controversial question. Business associates… I will tell you something which happens CLICK TO READ MORE