AT last JK did it after wild speculation as to who comes in and who ships out in the reshuffled cabinet that was forced to come in, after barely one year. Just in the same way as was last year's cabinet reshuffle, the parliamentarians were the driving force pushing the resignation of these ministers. There were mixed feelings in this way of forcing political officials to vacate their offices from political pressure, particularly emanating from the Parliament. I am sure those being asked to resign are not doing it with humility but it is with anguish and some them seem to be bitter and strongly believe to have been forced as sacrificial lambs. I take a note of the warning sounded by the Speaker Honourable Anne Makinda when closing that very Parliamentary Session. She counseled those surviving ministers to make sure that people under them are delivering lest they will be responsible for their underperformances. I hope the new team is very much aware of that and looking forward to pushing the development agenda with zeal. As a stakeholder of Home Affairs, I have to congratulate the new Minister for Home Affairs, Mathias Chikawe(Chicks) for stepping in a ministry that has a record of having three ministers resigning for taking political responsibility arising from mistakes committed in that ministry. Hopefully this will not happen again. The first one was forced to resign after the torture case of Mazegenunke and Mwanankoboko of Mwanza. And then was followed by the Uncle Thom escape at the Keko Remand Prison and the latest one is on this Operation Tokomeza Ujangili. However, it is in good record that from the same Ministry in the late sixties the former Minister of Home Affairs, Saidi Alli Maswanya narrowly survived taking political responsibility on passport scandal in which some of the Immigration officials were prosecuted and sacked. I believe, Chicks has the strength and ability to steer this Ministry which is prone to open criticism as it is the ministry with the greatest impact on the freedoms, liberties and rights of individuals. Indeed those involved in this ministry must respect fundamental human rights in every respect and should be guided by a belief in fairness and equality under and before the law; the dignity and worth of individual and carrying their duties with honesty, openness and integrity. Unfortunately he is stepping in while the Criminal Justice System in this country is in a limbo trying to open up in finding a solution to insurmountable problems of having backlog of pending court cases resulting into serious overcrowding of our prisons. Overcrowding of inmates and the resulting financial and inherent human rights problems remains to be of great concern to the country. Of even more concern is that in recent years and in various forums, a startling account of prison conditions has been portrayed creating black spot to the country's positive image on good governance and rule of law. Overcrowded prisons inexorably lead to inmates being exposed to improper health conditions that result in the spread of epidemics likely to cause death such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. The multiplier effect of this is the inability of the prison system to adequately rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders within the community as there are no adequate facilities to do so and therefore contribute to their reoffending once released. Your predecessor, Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi , tried to ask himself so many questions as to why offenders do recidivate while there are rehabilitation programmes in prisons. To be specific he used to quote the recidivism rate in this country to be between 30 and 35 per cent though yet debated. Repeaters are crime sparklers and prefer to commit serious crimes. Again it is a question of underperforming of the criminal justice system. Rehabilitation cannot effectively take place if you have an acute overcrowding. A well performing criminal justice system should have a ratio of 1:3 remands to sentenced prisoners but here it is the reverse, 52 per cent is for remands while 48 per cent is for sentenced prisoners. There is a gap existing in the criminal justice system chain from arrest, prosecution, trial and ends up in conviction. What happens after conviction? There is no practical mechanism for monitoring and support for the obviously neglected and rejected offenders required to reintegrate with the community. That missing link contributes to the failure of the rehabilitation process and the offender has no choice rather than opting to recidivate. Rehabilitation is incomplete without the process of gradual controlled release into half way house as a smooth way of reintegration with the community. The Police Force seems to get on well with its new approach on the crime reduction through the community partnership. According to the retired Inspector General (IGP) Said Mwema , Police has adapted a new scientific approach with acronym of 'CAUSE" that embraces community partnership in solving, analysing and targeting to active criminals who are responsible for repeat offenders. This goes better with the Prison's envisaged Offender Risk Correctional Strategy still hitting the hitch. The Offender Risk Correctional Strategy has all the answers to the questions raised about prison administration and it only needs to be domesticated in relevance to our situation. But just for a reminder to something you know Honourable Chikawe. In 2009 in your 4th Periodical Report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) you presented to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva , you said Tanzania Prisons Service was working on a new Prisons National Policy that will focus on a new Correctional Strategy based on Risk Management and Social Reintegration of offenders. That thing is not yet out and perhaps since you are in the driving seat, you will see to it that policy is coming out marking a departure from traditional ways of running prisons to digital ways of managing corrections through case management system based on risk assessment. But who is sitting on it?
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