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Minister, MPs differ on prison conditions

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Minister, MPs differ on prison conditions

    2008-09-22 10:36:12
    By Angel Navuri

    The government has said it has no information that violations of human rights are rampant in the country`s jails and include the stripping of inmates naked as part of a routine inspection exercise.

    Responding to recent claims to that effect by people who had completed their jail terms, Home Affairs minister Lawrence Masha said at the weekend that what he knew was that there had been dramatic improvement in prison conditions in the country.

    Improvement was especially noticeable with respect to provision of food and other basic amenities for inmates as well as general observance of human rights, he said in an exclusive interview with The Guardian.


    The minister`s remarks follow allegations by veteran journalist Zephania Wesai Musendo, just released from Mkuza Prison in Coast Region after serving a five-year term, about massive violations of human rights in the country's jails.

    Musendo, who was convicted in 2005 and discharged last week, said the violations included congestion of inmates, lack of bedding, general mistreatment of prisoners, lumping juveniles and adults together in prison cells, and scarcity of basic social needs like medical attention and special diet for sick inmates.

    Narrating his ordeal, Musendo said one of his worst recollections was on his first day when a prison warden ordered him and several other convicts to strip naked as part of an inspection exercise.

    ``The inspection involves complete stripping, some of the inmates before whom you strip naked being the age of your own children. I consider this one of the most degrading acts a person can be subjected to`` noted the journalist, adding that he harboured no grudges against anybody.

    Masha dismissed the allegations as baseless, saying he had been to a number of prisons and had not witnessed or heard of any such incidents.

    ``I don`t believe that there is a problem of that magnitude because we would have heard about it. I have been to several prisons around the country now and then, just have some other Members of Parliament, but we have found no evidence of such blatant violations of basic human rights,`` he pointed out.

    He admitted that he knew of cases of juveniles and adults being held in the same jails ``but they are always kept in separate cells``.

    ``The country has a critical shortage of centres for young offenders, which at times forces us to lump juveniles and adults within the same compound. However, they never share cells; we always make sure that juveniles are kept away from other inmates,`` elaborated the minister.

    He said the ministry was working hard to ease the problem of congestion in jails by releasing illegal immigrants and subsequently repatriating them as soon as convenient.

    ``We have also increased the number of inmates eligible to benefit from the parole board in a bid to decongest our prisons. Efforts are also on expanding existing prisons,`` he added.

    Meanwhile, Human Rights and Good Governance Commission Chairman Amir Manento said when he was the country`s principal judge he visited a number of prisons ``and found ample evidence of improvements in terms of food and accommodation for inmates``.

    ``There are a lot of improvements; no wonder that the number of remandees has kept rising. Some reman dees have been refusing bail in preference for the good food and accommodation provided in prison,`` said the retired judge.

    However, Busega legislator (CCM) Raphael Chegeni said the situation in most jails in Tanzania was not all that good.

    He said violations of prisoners` rights were rife chiefly because jails did not have enough rooms to make it possible for them to separate habitual criminals from inmates who had committed petty offences.

    The MP recommended that people accused or convicted of felonies like armed robbery or murder should be separated from those accused or convicted of committing petty offences.

    He added that the food inmates are commonly fed on is of very low quality and there was thus an urgent need for the government to increase budgetary allocations to prisons to help avert a looming food-related disaster.

    ``The food on which prisoners in Tanzania are fed on is substandard relative to the situation in many other countries. We should not treat inmates like animals; they are human beings too,`` said Dr Chegeni.

    He further recommended that religious leaders be routinely allowed to visit the prisons and talk to inmates about their problems.

    Mkoani (Pemba) legislator Ali Khamisi Seif (CUF) said most of the prisons were congested, adding: ``We should not mix politics with people`s rights. It is absurd to say that the situation in our prisons is good while we all know that all is not well.``

    SOURCE: Guardian
     
  2. F

    Fundi Mchundo JF-Expert Member

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    Yale yale ya McCain kwenda sokoni Baghdad na kutangaza mambo yote safi na tulivu. Anategemea aone yote haya akienda kama waziri? Kama yuko serious atume watu incognito atajua ukweli wenyewe! Ingawa simuombei yampake lakini siku atakapofungwa ndiyo atakuja kutueleza! Watu wanaumia kwenye hizo jela zetu.
     
  3. K

    Kithuku JF-Expert Member

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    Jibu la waziri kuhusu hali ya jela, siyo bongo tu na kwingine duniani, huwa ni la kisiasa. Mawaziri wanazijua habari zote zinazosemwa kuhusu hali za magereza, maana haya mambo huwa yanasemwa kila mahali na hata watoto wadogo wanajua. Alikuwa anajua kabla hajawa waziri, na anajua hivyo sasa, lakini anapotoa jibu anaongea kisiasa ilhali akijua wazi kabisa kuwa alichokitamka kinywani ni tofauti kabisa na anachokijua. Hii ndiyo siasa, nitumie neno gani kuieleza, usanii ama maigizo?
     
  4. Field Marshall ES

    Field Marshall ES JF-Expert Member

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    Hii ni procedure ya dunia nzima, ukisoma vitabu vya OJ na Jim Baker aliyekua mchingaji mkubwa sana US, wote wanaisema wazi kuwa ni kawaida kuvuliwa nguo wakati wowote ukitoka nje ya gereza, unaporudi ndani lazima uvuliwe nguo, labda kama kuna mengine lakini hili sio ishu kabisaa.
     
  5. K

    Kithuku JF-Expert Member

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    Hata Mzee Mandela alifanyiwa hivyo kwenye zile jela za makaburu, na aliiandika kwenye kitabu chake "Long Walk to Freedom". Wakati huo Mandela alikuwa na umri wa miaka 45, mwenye umbo la nguvu na misuli (licha ya mafunzo ya guerilla warfare, alikuwa pia mshiriki wa mchezo wa ndondi), basi wenzie kina Walter Sisulu walipovuliwa nguo anaandika Mandela kuwa alishindwa kujizuia kucheka kwa jinsi maumbo yao yalivyokuwa yanachekesha wakiwa uchi, akaandika "clothes make the man!"
     
  6. Field Marshall ES

    Field Marshall ES JF-Expert Member

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    Ahsante Mkuu, kama nilivyosema kuwa huenda kuna mengine lakini ya kuvuliwa nguo ni kawaiada jela zote karibu dunia nzima.
     
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