The Sunday Mail
The GOVERNMENT is committed to upgrading prison facilities and building new prisons to improve living standards of inmates in line with global best practices in jails and correctional systems, President Mnangagwa has said.
The President made the remarks at the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) Pass-Out Parade held at Ntabazinduna Prisons Training School, just outside Bulawayo, where 732 officers, comprising 545 males and 187 females, graduated after five months of training.
Delivering his speech, President Mnangagwa said the country is determined to improve inmates’ living conditions.
“My Government is conscious of the plight of our citizens behind bars, hence, resources continue to be channelled towards upgrading correctional facilities and the construction of new ones. We are, thus, determined to improve the living standards of inmates in line with global best practices in prisons and correctional systems,” he said.
President Mnangagwa commended the ZPCS for the utilisation of its prison farms, which were a clear indicator that the country’s prisons did not need to be overly reliant on the national purse.
“It is commendable that the ZPCS has begun to prioritise the full utilisation of its prison farms, with over 1 600 tonnes of maize harvested this year along with over 500 tonnes of wheat also harvested so far. I congratulate ZPCS for the turnaround mechanisation initiative, which saw the purchase of centre pivots through bank facilities, some of which have been fully serviced.
“This is encouraging and a demonstration that the ZPCS has the potential to produce and feed its prison population, reduce over-reliance on the fiscus as well as make a meaningful contribution to the country’s food security and national GDP (Gross Domestic Product).”
Turning to the graduates, President Mnangagwa encouraged the new officers to continue to further their studies, as Government afforded room to those who wished to do so as part of its human capital development thrust.
“Pursuant to my administration’s human capital development thrust, training and study programmes continue to be availed for public officials to study within and outside the borders of Zimbabwe.
‘‘Twenty-one correctional officers were awarded the Presidential scholarship to advance themselves academically and professionally. Of these, six correctional officers graduated in August 2022 and are now back home.
“These opportunities should be harnessed to impact the overall professionalism within the ZPCS. Such staff development programmes enable correctional officers to competently perform their duties whilst on tour of duty at the United Nations Peace Support Missions. Presently, there are five officers seconded to the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission. I challenge you, the 151st graduating class, to emulate your seniors and further nurture high standards in line with global best practice.”
President Mnangagwa encouraged the new officers to shun corruption, as their chosen career path meant that they had to do everything above board.
The President praised the hierarchy at the ZPCS for the work they had done in reforming the country’s prisons, adding that their efforts would soon be buttressed by changes to the country’s laws.
In his speech, ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu thanked the President for the support he gave to the prison services.
“I am glad to mention that, courtesy of your support, Treasury has already released funds to facilitate the purchase of the required farming inputs, that is, fuel, seed, chemicals and fertilisers for the 2022/2023 farming season. This financial support, will, no doubt, impact positively on the department’s production levels,” he said.
Comm-Gen Chihobvu praised the graduating officers for their amazing show of resilience and endurance, as they had to overcome various obstacles during their training to become fully fledged prison correctional officers.