Home affairs Minister Lameck Mangani has said government is aware of the many challenges the prison service is facing in the country and is doing everything possible to address them.
Mr. Mangani said problems such as the erratic supply of water and electricity and inadequate housing continue to impact negatively on the officers’ morale.
Mr. Mangani was speaking at Tuskers Hotel in kabwe last evening during a dinner hosted in his honour, by the prison service after the commemoration of Africa Prisons day held at Mukobeko Maximum prison in Kabwe yesterday.
He said government was aware that the prison officers were putting in their best to ensure that the service performed well. He further said government had decided that the allowances for paying for electricity and water would be lumped together with the officers’ salaries starting from January, 2010.
Mr. Mangani said this would be done in order to avoid the inconveniences such as water and electricity disconnections the officers had been subjected to for a long time.
He said he also noted that some of the houses for officers were built a long time ago and government had embarked on the construction of new houses.
Mr. Mangani commended the prisons service for rearing a good number of animals and producing a lot of maize.
He further said everybody expected the prison service to be self dependent it terms of growing its own food and having a surplus for sell to other consumers in society.
‘We want to commend you for the various initiatives that you have undertaken as a service,’ he said.
In another development, Mr. Mangani reminded prison officers that they have a responsibility to protect the welfare of the people who have been condemned in society.
Mr. Mangani called for total discipline among the officers, adding that the service was built on the foundation of discipline for them to discharge their duties as expected.
‘We want to build a prison service that is discipline and I know the chairman of police and prison service is committed and is always addressing this subject,’ he said.
Mr. Mangani also emphasized that tribalism and any form of discrimination should not be practiced among prison officers.
He also advised them not to involve themselves in partisan politics, adding that those who want to be in active politics should resign.
Among the people who attended the dinner included Botswana chief prison commissioner Saila Motlaekgosi, his Malawian counterpart Macdonald Chiwana, central province permanent secretary Denny Lumbama, home affairs Assistance Secretary Florence Mweemba, and Commissioner of Prisons Gibby Nawa amother others.