JPM: This is how Tanzania prisons should be run

15Jul 2018
Aisia Rweyemamu
Guardian On Sunday
JPM: This is how Tanzania prisons should be run
  • Prisoners were free labour which, if well utilised, could easily end the problem of staff housing

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday expressed disappointment in the way Tanzanian prisons are run, saying urgent transformation was needed to ensure preserve its respect.

He directed the newly appointed Prisons Commissioner General Phaustine Kasike to instill discipline in his junior officers, saying prisoners were given too much leeway and enjoyed some freedoms which were forbidden to people in incarceration.

The president outlined a few issues he said were what he expected from the new Prisons boss, including restricting some of the freedoms and instilling a work ethic in prisoners.

The president stressed that without work prisons would not realise their goals.

“I want respect for prisons to be restored,” President Magufuli said.

The president gave the directive after he had sworn-in newly appointed Prisons Commissioner General Phaustine Kasike at the State House in Dar es Salaam.

He said prisoners had to work hard, including making bricks and farming so Prisons staff could have better housing and prisoners feed themselves.

“I do not expect prison staff to lack housing while prisoners have a good place to sleep,” Magufuli said, adding that prisoners were free labour which, if well utilized, could easily end the problem of dilapidated housing for staff.

Magufuli was concerned that, even with prisons having a large number of inmates, the department was still asking for budget allocations from the government.

“I have great confidence in you. I believe you will bring desirable changes in our prisons,” the president told Kasike.

The president was visibly irked by the use of illegal drugs in prisons, possession of mobile phones and enjoyment of conjugal visits for some prisoners contrary to prisons regulations.

Magufuli wondered why prison wardens and other staff were facing a number of challenges despite the abundant free labour available in prisons.

He was particularly bitter about conjugal visits by some prisoners’ spouses. 

“This is what happens in our prisons in Dar es Salaam and the leaders are there. It is a great shame. This is happening because prisoners are idle, they don’t engage in hard work,” he said.

The president challenged the new prisons commissioner general to take serious action in addressing the challenges, warning, “You will hate me if you won’t take corrective measures because if you don’t act I will.”

He urged the new Prisons boss to work in close collaboration with other staff in transforming the prisons.

Speaking after he was sworn-in, Kasike said he would implement his duties in accordance with the law in order to bring efficiency in prisons.

At the ceremony President Magufuli also swore in Ambassador Joseph Sokoine as deputy permanent secretary in the Vice-President’s Office.

On Friday the president appointed Phaustine Kasike Prisons Commissioner General with effect from yesterday, replacing Juma Malewa who had retired.

Before his appointment, Kasike was head of the Tanzania Correctional Training Academy (TCTA) at Ukonga in the city.