SLAIN Monica Chabwera’s family says murder convict Beatrice Hangwende’s release has come as an utter shock to them because their hearts are still bleeding.

On Tuesday, the Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) said Hangwende, who is also a Lusaka business woman, had been released from prison because she exhibited “good behaviour”.

A News Diggers investigation revealed that Hangwende was released from Prison on September 5, 2020 but her co-accused who were convicted along with her had remained in prison.

In January 2018, News Diggers reported that the Zambia Correctional Service had transferred Hangwende from Mukobeko Maximum Prison in Kabwe to Lusaka’s Chimbokaila Remand Prison with the aim of providing her comfort.

But Monica’s family members, who sought anonymity, said their sister was turning in her grave over Hangwende’s release.

“This is a surprise to us as a family that a person can be jailed for 13 years and yet she was committed to life imprisonment. After 13 years, do you think that she deserves to walk the streets of Zambia while Monica is turning in her grave? Where is her justice? The State is the one that committed her to life in prison. So the people of Zambia could have been the ones to release her. We are very disgusted with the judiciary system, it is not working for us innocent Zambians. They did not consult the State or her family on her release. We thought justice had prevailed. This woman has never changed. We had incidents where even in prison, she never went to Mukobeko, she was in Lusaka. Zambia is a Christian nation, we uphold the values of Christianity in the Bible but we are not upholding them now,” said a family spokesperson.

“This has come as a total surprise because our hearts are still bleeding for Monica for her to come back and run her company Chabmore Enterprise Limited. In the last 13 years, we have just tried to fill in her shoes, she would put this company at another level. We don’t want this company to die, she has thousands of people that she still looks after even in her grave.”

Another family member said the family had not taken Hangwende’s release well.

“The murder was all planed. She planned it for months on how she was going to kill our sister. She used to victimize her husband. She was a very violent woman, I don’t know how many times she went to break my late sister’s house windows. We have not taken the release well. And she mentioned on TV that she apologized to the family, we never even saw her, she is lying. Who did she apologize to? It is different when someone mistakenly does something and says; ‘it was by accident’ but it was planned for months, they used to meet at a named guest house to plan to shoot. If at all she was sorry, she could have come to apologize to us. Honestly, we have not taken it well. She was supposed to stay there because other people’s lives can be in danger, she was a very aggressive person,” said the family member.

“Even the husband now is scared she may come for him. To me, she is not a repentant soul. She is lying that she was in an abusive relationship, that is why the husband wanted to leave her for my sister because he was being abused. So we are not happy as a family.”

Hangwende, a famous Lusaka business woman was sentenced to death along with her elder brother John and two others for murdering her husband’s lover Monica Chabwera Phiri in cold blood 13 years ago.