HOME Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says the pardoned Kapiri gay couple, Stephen Sambo and Japhet Mataba, have given “a second chance to live like law abiding citizens”.

And Kampyongo says President Edgar Lungu has pardoned 249 more ordinary inmates.

Speaking at a briefing, Wednesday, Kampyongo said the Zambia Correctional Facility had done their work in re-orienting the couple back into society.

“Yes, indeed I can confirm that those convicted inmates were convicted for their acts against nature were among the pardoned inmates. I can also confirm that the correctional service who are now a reformatory institution have done their work in re-orienting those former inmates into understanding what society expects from them and that they should follow the laws. This is also clear to show that we as Zambia have our own laws and all these inmates in different categories, who offended the society and who broke the laws like these two you are talking about, have been given a second chance to live like law abiding citizens,” Kampyongo said.

And Kampyongo said the President had pardoned 249 more ordinary inmates.

“The President of the Republic of Zambia and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has today Wednesday 27th May 2020 further exercised his prerogative of mercy on 249 ordinary inmates. This is in accordance with Article 97 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia which provides for the Presidential pardon and substitution of severe punishments imposed on convicted persons. Among the pardoned 238 are males while 11 are females. The pardoning of the 249 ordinary inmates will greatly help reduce the congestion in our correction facilities. The recess of inmates on the Presidential Amnesty this month translates into a cumulative total number of 3,242 inmates pardoned by the President of the Republic of Zambia,” Kampyongo said.

“As a result, the inmate population in the country has declined further from 22,242 from 22nd May of 2020 to 19,000 as 27th May 2020. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, government through the Zambia Correction Service has put in place measures that will prevent the spread of virus into the correction facilities. You may wish to know that Mpima remand prison in Kabwe has since been transformed into a COVID-19 quarantine centre for any suspected COVID cases among inmates on the Copperbelt, Lusaka and Central Provinces, which hold the bulk of Zambian inmate population.”

He said so far, COVID-19 had not affected correctional facilities.

“So far, we are delighted that the COVID-19 has not spread into our correctional facilities. This can be attributed to the effective measures that the service has put in place to protect inmates from the coronavirus pandemic. The one reported case obviously involved a newly admitted inmate who was screened and found positive before being admitted to the correction facility. The Ministry is gratified to report that the admitted inmate is responding well to treatment. I must commend you Commissioner General and your command for working so hard in this regard,” said Kampyongo.

“I would also like to thank GIZ for the support rendered to Zambia Correctional services by donating in the sum K1,474,280 for COVID-19 related operations. We are grateful for the support. The staff of the correctional facility is confident that the pardoned inmates have been rehabilitated enough and ready for integration into society.”

Meanwhile, Kampyongo received donations of assorted items from the European Union and GIZ to help in the fight against COVID-19 in correctional facilities.