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Ex-death row prisoner cries for help

WILLIAM Kamoyo, an ex-death row prisoner, says he has failed to settle down in society following his release from Mukobeko Maximum Prison in 2016 and is appealing for help.

Kamoyo, 47, was in 1995 sentenced to death for murder, which he still denies he was personally involved. He entered prison three years earlier when he was only 19 and was released on parole 24 years later in 2016.

“I am now 47 years and I have been trying all that is humanly possible to get settled, that is to find my legs ever since I walked to freedom but things are somewhat beyond my ability to do so,” he told The Mast in a letter. “I have completely run out of ideas about what it means to go through day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade thinking things will be better but they never do.”

While awaiting his fate on death row, Kamoyo says he resumed Grade 8 inside the maximum security prison in 2006 and sat the November grade 9 examinations a year later.

He managed obtain a grade 9 certificate.

“So I am nothing but a grade 9 certificate holder that is civics 81 per cent, Environmental Science 77 per cent, Book Keeping 72 per cent, Mathematics 70 per cent, English 68 per cent, History 66 per cent, and Geography 60 per cent,” he says.

Kamoyo lives in Lusaka’s Matero township and says he is surviving on piece works but says these are not taking him anywhere.

“My parents are dead, our first born is dead, my immediate young brother is dead. I am just remaining with my elder brother, a divorced sister and our last born but the situation is just beyond yah!” Kamoyo says. “All these are poverty stricken and they cannot help me start life; I am just a burden to them.”

Asked what type of piece works he does, Kamoyo mentioned guarding at Uniturtle Industries.

He explains that he is paid K45 per night shift.

“Ngati ni muzuba, kopanga ma (if it’s during the day, where they manufacture) coffins from 06:00 hours to 18:00 hours ni K35. Kaili imankala chancing chabe (you just chance the piece work) because kambili bakamba ati number lelo yakwana (often they say the number of guards is enough for the day), penangu siwunangeneko (sometimes you are unlucky),” he explained. “In short there is no vacancy, you know jobs are difficult to come by in Zambia. Nangu mu Boma kuti wungankaleko toilet cashier, vonse vivuta (even in government, where you can be a toilet cashier) all is difficult.”

Kamoyo says he decided to plead for help from well-wishers through the media.

Asked what skills he learnt while in prison, Kamoyo says those on death row do not get training in any skills.

“I was convicted to death myself. So there is nothing like going to learn anything,” he narrates. “I was released in 2016 and it’s now five years, I have not gotten settled mwe bantu!”

Kamoyo comes from Mwomboshi area in Chisamba Constituency.

He says his surviving family members were in the village but cannot help him.

He says he lives in a small house where he pays K160 per month as rent.

“Kalibe namalaiti nankongole nilinazo (it is not even electrified and I even have rental arrears),” he says.

Asked what type of help he wants, he says, “To start life, maybe nayambako ka business, kaili niliko naka knowledge ka entrepreneurship, ningayambe life yogulitsa fast phone chargers. But where to start from; I am crippled, in short,” Kamoyo says.

He says he is one of the productive human resources the Maximum Security Prison harboured.

Kamoyo says somebody at the nearby internet café helped him open an email account through which well-wishers can contact him in addition to his cellphone line +260955899847.

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