WILL only resign when I fail to effectively execute my duties because inmates escaping from facilities are a common trend, Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) Commissioner General Chisela Chileshe has said.

And two convicts who killed nine women escaped from Kabwe Medium Correctional Facility for 46 days.Speaking in an interview, Dr Chileshe said he is firmly in charge of the institution and calls for him to step down are unfounded.

Some sectors have been calling for Dr Chileshe’s resignation after the two convicts escaped from lawful custody and killed nine people in Kabwe and the Copperbelt. “I would definitely resign if I had failed to do my job, but I have not failed to perform and that is why they (convicts) have been re-arrested.

“So now their (convicts’) remission [reduced sentence] will be taken away. They will have to serve all their sentences,” Dr Chileshe said.He said when inmates are taken to big farms, the possibility of some escaping is high, but officers work hard to re-capture them.

“These things do happen, but it is unfortunate that these escapees started killing people. We cannot be held responsible for what these people do outside correctional facilities,” Dr Chileshe said. Joseph Chiteta, 53, and Miles Malaya, 42, escaped from Mukuyu farm on April 7 this year and spent 46 days committing the gruesome murders.

Ministry of Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Masiye Banda said at a briefing yesterday that Chiteta and Malaya escaped after they were taken to work on the farm.“Joseph Chiteta was admitted at Mukobeko Maximum Security Correctional Centre on October 19, 2011 for aggravated robbery, for 20 years with hard labour effective October 28, 2011.

Due to his good behaviour, he was transferred to Kabwe Medium Correctional Facility. His earliest possible date of discharge was January 2025. “Malaya, who was convicted for 12 years for vandalism, was also moved to Kabwe,” Mr Banda said.He said when people are jailed with hard labour, they are taken to work in big farms to cultivate as part of their punishment.

Mr Banda said police are investigating the matter and anyone who will be found wanting will be punished.He said inmates taken to open-air correctional facilities are not a threat to security.Mr Banda also said no inmate has been licensed to visit their family for two weeks as being alleged on social media.

He said President Edgar Lungu has not signed a law that will allow inmates to go on holiday.Mr Banda said enactment of a new bill, which was assented to by President Lungu on May 27 this year, strengthens operations of ZCS.“We needed to harmonise the Prisons Service Act by replacing it with the Correctional Service Act.

It gives effect to the paradigm shift from being a punitive to a correctional institution,” Mr Banda said.Mr Banda said there is no need to politicise the matter because no inmate has been allowed to visit his or her relatives.

Meanwhile, CHAMBO NG’UNI reports that the search for more bodies of women allegedly killed and dumped at Mukuyu farm by Chiteta and Malaya resumed yesterday.Last Wednesday, Chiteta led police officers to the murder scene where three decomposed bodies of women covered with grass and leaves

By editor

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