By SYLVESTER MWALE –
THE Government has commissioned 109 housing units for the Zambia Correctional Services at Kabwe’s Mukobeko Correctional Facility under the US $300 million project by AVIC International.
The houses are part of the 246 that have been allocated to Mukobeko under the first phase of the housing project which is aimed at building 692 units for correctional service officers across the country.
Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo said when he commissioned the housing units yesterday that the Government wanted to build a prosperous country by meeting the needs of all citizens through effective policies and programmes.
Mr Kampyongo said the commissioning of the housing units was another demonstration of the Government’s commitment to improving the welfare of all officers in the security institutions after being neglected for a long time.
“The negligence of the past is evident from the dilapidated housing our officers continue to endure, as we try to provide decent housing fit for human habitation. My Government is therefore committed to changing the face of our security institutions,” he said.
Mr Kampyongo revealed that the Government had initiated several measures aimed at uplifting the living standards and working conditions of officers.
Besides, the Government was working on transforming the Zambia Correctional Services into a truly correctional service that provided a second chance to offenders.
Mr Kampyongo admitted that the overcrowding in many correctional facilities was disgraceful, but assured that the Government was in the process of building two modern facilities to help address the problem.
Earlier, Zambia Correctional Services commissioner general Percy Chato said, handing over of the houses at Mukobeko was a great step towards a bigger vision of resolving the accommodation crisis in the service.
Mr Chato noted that the successful and sustainable prison reform initiative needed political will as well as an administration that was able to deliver the desired change.
“This event is testimony that we enjoy political will in order to realise successful and sustainable prison reform initiatives. This event is testimony that we have an administration capable of delivering change in order to realise successful and sustainable prison reform initiatives,” he said.
Mr Chato however, warned against vandalism, stating his command would ensure that those damaging the structures were disciplined in lined with the standing orders.
Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga said it was sad that some people were still disputing the works of the Patriotic Front when the evidence was there that President Edgar Lungu meant well for the Zambian people.