A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Fr Biju Mappoore svd and Zambia’s Prisons

Dear Elizabeth

Greetings from Fr Biju. You can continue to use the address Fr Ben was using. We have discussed with the parish where Fr Ben was staying and they have kindly agreed to it. Its just three kilometers from here, I can bicycle there. 

I have not been well for some time. I have a very bad chest infection and under treatment. So I have not visited prison for past three weeks. I am told by the doctor to keep away from situations that will irritate my lungs. I am under medication for  the coming three months. Once I feel better, I will go to the prison. So it might get delayed some of the correspondence for time being. I hope you understand.

Take care and God bless, Fr Biju

Fr Biju Mappoore svd was born in India in 1971, and ordained in 1999. He is now District Superior of Botswana/Zambia provinces of the Society of the Divine Word. He is Director of Postulants helped by another ordained svd priest.
He is also Chaplain to Kabwe Maximum Security prison. As one can see from his letter he rides a bicycle and has some health problems.Many readers of the Messenger write to prisoners at Kabwe prison, where conditions are grim. cf Article following.I cannot help but be impressed by the zeal and the poverty of these missionary priests from the Sub-continent. Food for thought for Mission Sunday.

ZAMBIA’S PRISONS - ‘hell on earth’

Dr Guy Scott

Dr Guy Scott

Congestion, disease, hunger and poor sanitation are common features in prisons which are clearly a stark contradiction of factors inherently needed in reform facilities.

The Zambian prisons have over the years been reduced to “HELL ON EARTH” because they have not had a facelift since the colonial days when the country’s population was less than three million. Vice-President of Zambia, Dr Guy Scott, was the person who described the deplorable conditions at Maximum Security Prison in Kabwe as “hell on earth”.   When Dr Scott visited the Prison recently, he said that the prison had deteriorated to levels where inmates had been de-humanized.   In the prison dormitory, 152 inmates were sharing a cell meant for forty prisoners, and the toilets were in a deplorable condition.

In this Maximum Security Prison, Dr Scott said that the Government would urgently address the issue of capital punishment and that he would ensure that the matter was presented before Cabinet soon.   The condemned section which was constructed to accommodate 47 inmates, has 297 prisoners waiting for their turn to be executed. According to the law the death penalty can only be executed after the Head of State has signed the death warrant.   Zambia’s statutes are equivocal;  on the one hand they provide for the death penalty, while on the other hand they seek to protect human rights, including the right to life.    Capital punishment cannot have a place in a Constitution which values life.

Dr Guy Scott’s parting comment was:  “This “hell on earth” puzzle needs an urgent solution!”

Some of you may have seen the large advertisement in our Catholic papers MERCY IN AFRICA – Visiting African Inmates by Writing.   I was in prison and you came to me.  Matt 25:36

Would you like to be part of a special work of mercy by writing to prisoners in a foreign country?  Divine Mercy Publications Trust NZ has set up letter writers to correspond with the inmates of Maximum Security Prisons in Zambia.  Many are Catholics/Christians to whom we occasionally send reading and prayer literature as well as funds for them and their children’s school fees.  In some cases, writers have chosen to support an inmate financially.

Requests for penpals are growing:  our team of 300+ write to more than 500 inmates, most of whom are desperate for consolation and encouragement.  Most never see their families and are in poor health!  They are served by a Catholic priest whom they see 2-3 times a month. CAN YOU HELP? Divine Mercy Publications will cover expenses. All you need give is your time and mercy to these needy people.

If you feel called to help in this wonderful missionary work, please contact Divine Mercy Publications/Trust Christchurch,  PO Box 20266, Christchurch 8543  
Email:  info@divinemercy.co.nz

Phone/Fax  03 359 2087 


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