OPENING SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA HON. MWIGULU L. NCHEMBA (MP) TO THE SADC FIRST MEETING OF CORRECTIONS/PRISONS SUB - COMMITTEE(C/PSC), HELD AT JULIUS NYERERE INTERNATIONAL
CONVENTION CENTRE, DAR ES SALAAM, 11th JUNE, 2017
- Mr. Chairman and Commissioner General of the Tanzania Prisons Service;
- Distinguished Heads of Corrections, Prisons and penitentiary Services of SADC Member States;
- Representatives of Heads of Corrections, Prisons and Penitentiary Services;
- Distinguished Delegates;
- Members of SADC Secretariat;
- Members of the Press;
- Invited Guests;
- Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is my pleasure and honour to welcome you to this meeting of Corrections/Prisons Sub-Committee of the SADC Member States which is being held here at Mwalimu Nyerere Convention Centre, D’Salaam, Tanzania. May I also thank the organizers of this meeting for giving me an opportunity to officiate this historical meeting of the Corrections/Prisons Sub-Committee. It is my pleasure on behalf of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the people of Tanzania to welcome you to Tanzania and Dar es Salaam in particular.
I have been informed that, this is the first meeting since you have been elevated to Corrections/Prisons Sub-Committee. Before that, it was a Sub-Sub-Committee under Public Security Sub-Committee of the SADC Inter State Defence and Security Committee. Let me congratulate you for such magnificent achievement and I am pleased to be part of this historical event of the first meeting of the Sub-Committee.
Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Delegates, we all know that SADC is determined to attain viable social-economic development of Member States. Such determination will not be achieved if there is no peace, security and political stability within the community. In this regards, the community has a mechanism of dealing with maintenance of peace and security, resolutions of conflicts, promotion of democracy, dialogue and continuous consultation where need arises. These processes are propelled by the Organ of Politics, Defence and Security cooperation of which Corrections/Prisons Sub-Committee is a vital part of it.
Maintenance of peace and security ensures public safety within member states and consequently socio-economic development. But, public safety cannot be fully achieved without competent and proper management of Corrections and Prisons systems. Security and social stability depends also on how corrections/prisons systems are performing. Effectiveness in safe custody of inmates and rehabilitation of convicted prisoners has significant contribution to reduction of reoffending and crimes in general thus making the society live safely and engage in socio-economic activities for the betterment of individuals and member states.
Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Delegates, I have gone through the draft agenda of the meeting and noted that, among others, you will discuss harmonization of corrections/prisons service legislations, policies and procedures. Indeed, it is high time now to harmonize the running of corrections and prisons within SADC member states. Other agenda of the meeting are Protocol on the Inter-State Transfer of Prisoners, Assessment of the prisons conditions in DRC, Development of common Integrated Management Information System, Staff Training, issues related to Peace Support Operations and Correction/Prisons Women’s network. I urge you to discuss in detail these and other areas and agree on its implementation as soon as possible wherever practicable. By doing so, you will be in a position to put together efforts on addressing challenges facing the corrections/prisons system and come up with sustainable solutions, thus easily attain the common goal of maintenance of peace and security within the society.
Like other sectors in the region, the Corrections /Prisons Institutions also face various challenges which hinder smooth running of duties and responsibilities to attain the expected goals and targets. Overcrowding is among the problem encountered by corrections and prisons institutions. Most of the prisons are congested to the extent of affecting proper provision of rehabilitation and other services to prisoners. Improper correctional management of offenders results into increase in reoffending thus impacting peace and security. Radicalization and extremists in prisons is another area which needs immediate attention and proper strategies in handling so as to maintain peace and harmony. These and other challenges need to be worked out in finding sustainable solution. I believe that, this forum will be effectively used to critically discuss those challenges and suggests the way forward. Also, this opportunity should be exhaustively used to share experiences and good practice in administration and management of prisons so as to improve efficiency and service delivery.
Distinguished Heads of Corrections/Prisons and Delegates, once again a warm welcome to Tanzania and hope that at the end of this meeting you will have an opportunity to visit and enjoy some places including tourist attraction around the city and within the country.
With these remarks, I now declare that the First Meeting of Corrections/Prisons Sub-Committee officially open. I wish you all success meeting with fruitful deliberations.
Thank you for your attention