There is rampant homosexuality in Zambia’s congested prisons – ex-prisoner

A FORMER convict has said that there is rampant sodomy in prisons, with the condemned section at Mukobeko Maximum Prison recording the highest incidence.
Sishekano Lubinda, who was arrested for robbery in 2003, spent two years at Lusaka Central Prison remand section and six years at Mukobeko Maximum Prison before he was pardoned by the President in June 2011.
He said what other former prisoners have been denying actually happens behind bars.
“Yes, men have sex with men in prison…from the onset, I noticed that sodomy exists but to my surprise, some ex-prisoners and other people have not accepted that it exists,” Mr Lubinda said
He described his release from prison as a miracle since his co-accused is still incarcerated.
Mr Lubinda said this on Thursday when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s ‘Face the Media’ talk show.
He said his first encounter with men who have sex with men was at Lusaka Central Prison where some inmates took advantage of the congestion in the cells and were having romps in the night.
“Because of the congestion, in a cell meant for 30 people there are 70 or even 100 people; so some inmates would agree to engage in homosexual acts.
“But when they were caught in the middle of the night, there was a lot of noise because some of them would want to beat the perpetrators while others would want to rescue them,” he said.
He said even at the dreaded Penal Block, an isolated prison from the main jail arena, acts of sodomy are rampant because the structure houses convicts serving longer sentences.
He said after being convicted and sentenced to death, he was taken to the ‘Condemned Section’ where he found that sodomy cases were even higher.
“I believe this is because of the history of the condemned section. When someone is sent there, in the past, they were executed at once and it was believed that once you go in as a condemned prisoner, there would be no coming back.
“So, sodomy is rampant rate and even now, some people believe that they will not leave prison. So it is done to ease sexual desire,” he said.
Mr Lubinda said when he got there, he found a ‘couple’ that had been together for 17 years and one of them was acting like a woman and adopted feminine characteristics.
He said when his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, he was taken to the other section which houses everyone from all parts of Zambia serving 15 years and more, where he found even higher cases of sodomy.
“Those coming from far become more vulnerable because they will be without a visitor for a long time…so they entice other prisoners to engage in homosexual acts,” he said.
He said many prisoners are not aware of their HIV status because going for voluntary counselling and testing is a personal decision.
Mr Lubinda said he is aware that sodomy is still rife because some prisoners sent back to prison for other offences committed after their release confessed that they could not have proper sexual relationships with their wives.

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