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Taskforce recommends overhaul of prisons leadership

NAIROBI, July 23 – A high level taskforce appointed to look into the plight of prison warders has recommended an immediate change of top leadership in the prison service.

The taskforce, which was appointed by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka a month ago and chaired by former Cabinet Minister Marsden Madoka, proposed Wednesday that a new management be sourced outside the prison ranks.

"The current management is to blame for most of the problems in the prisons and should therefore be overhauled," Madoka said.

Following allegations of grand corruption and mismanagement of public resources, the team recommended a thorough investigation of the Prisons Department by relevant government agencies.

The team further recommended that all warders be paid Sh10, 000 for their role in quelling the post election violence as was done to Police and Administration Police officers.

Only 1, 600 out of the 17, 000 prison officers were paid the risk allowances earlier in the year.

The task force appointed after prison warders went on strike, disrupting operations said the government should make Sh500 million immediately available for the purchase of at least two sets of uniforms for each officer.

Handing over their report to the VP at his Jogoo House offices, Madoka expressed the committees concern on the living standards of prison officers.

Madoka informed that some prisons only had two toilets serving 200 people and families had to queue to use the facilities.

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He lamented: "Most of them live in shacks separated by polythene paper and have no water and electricity, it is deplorable!"

The VP promised to implement those recommendations.

He said it was unacceptable that 45 years after independence, people serving in the prisons were living in dehumanising conditions.

He noted that urgent measures would be undertaken to build new housing units, provide uniforms for warders, expand prison facilities and speed up the hearing of court cases for prisoners.

The report also recommended that the Chief Justice establish special courts in prisons to urgently deal with the many pending cases in order to decongest the correctional facilities.

Other committee members were Japheth K. Mays, Wafula Wamunyinyi, Ibrahim Salat, Hussein Shariff Omar and Rev Kepha N. Omae.

Also in the committee were Ruth Kiiru, John Gechaga, Onesmus Nzwilli, Beneah Mutsotso and Josephine Omwenga.

Joint secretaries were Alice Nderitu, Emily Gatuguta and Davis Chirchir.

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