Kalonzo demands action on prisons

December 5, 2008 12:00 am

, KWALE, Kenya – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has instructed the Prisons Commissioner to move fast in restoring order and discipline in the country’s penal institutions.

Mr Musyoka said on Tuesday that the government would not tolerate cases of indiscipline taking root in the institutions and asked the prisons boss Isaiah Osugo to act firmly and take appropriate action against those behind the mayhem.

“Enough is enough. This joke has been taken too far and it is time we put an end to this,” he said.

The VP blamed the high rate of indiscipline in prisons on fraternisation between prison warders and activism by human rights groups. He said he was infuriated with cases of officers colluding with inmates to break the law.

“Kenyans should realise that prisons are security institutions,” he said but added that the government would ensure that the rights of inmates and prison officers are respected.

This order came against a backdrop of increased security breaches in major prisons. Kamiti Maximum Prison and the Naivasha Prison have reported high cases of molestation by warders and rebellion from inmates. Two weeks ago one person died and others were injured under the hands of warders.

Prison officers have also been accused of helping inmates sneak mobile phones, drugs and other outlawed items into the institutions. 

Mr Musyoka however defended the quality of training of the prison officers saying it was at par with that of other disciplined forces and wondered why they had allowed indiscipline to grip the institutions.

Mr Musyoka spoke when he opened a new prison in Msambweni, Kwale district. He said his ministry was working with the judiciary to decongest Kenyan prisons including engaging other rehabilitation institutions.

“We will consult with the judiciary to ensure appeal cases are given priority instead of pending unattended for many years,” he said.

He said 4,000 prisoners on petty charges were released last October as a means of decongesting the prisons.


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