Kenyatta Plans New Prison for Extremist Offenders

Kenyatta presiding over the Kenya Prisons Service Constables and Professionals Passing-Out parade on Tuesday

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has paid tribute to former United Nations Secretary General Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali who died in Cairo on Tuesday.

Boutros-Ghali, rx a veteran Egyptian diplomat, was the first UN Secretary General from the African Continent.

President Kenyatta eulogised Boutros-Ghali for the important United Nations reform proposals initiated during his tenure.

The former UN chief is remembered for the proposals he made in two major reports to the General Assembly – “An Agenda for Peace” and “An Agenda for Development.”

“Boutros Ghali was innovative in his thinking and his proposals have had impact in areas such as peacekeeping, ” the President said.

An academic and former Vice Foreign Minister of Egypt, Boutros-Ghali oversaw the UN at a time when it dealt with several world crises, including the break-up of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan Genocide.

He was then the first Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie from November 1997 to December 2002.

Elected in 1991 as Secretary-General, the top post of the UN, Boutros-Ghali’s term in office remains controversial. In 1992, he submitted An Agenda for Peace, a suggestion for how the UN could respond to violent conflict.

However, he was criticised for the UN’s failure to act during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, which officially left over one million people dead, and he appeared unable to muster support in the UN for intervention in the continuing Angolan Civil War.

Rwanda genocide

The former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, played a leading role in supplying weapons to the Hutu regime which carried out a campaign of genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs in Egypt, Boutros-Ghali facilitated an arms deal in 1990, which was to result in $26 million (£18m) of mortar bombs, rocket launchers, grenades and ammunition being flown from Cairo to Rwanda. The arms were used by Hutus in attacks which led to up to a million deaths.

The role of Boutros-Ghali, who was in charge at the UN when it turned its back on the killings in 1994, is revealed in a book by Linda Melvern.

In A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide, Boutros-Ghali admits his role in approving an initial $5.8 million arms deal in 1990, which led to Egypt supplying arms to Rwanda until 1992. He says he approved it because it was his job as Foreign Minister to sell weapons for Egypt.

The deal was never disclosed: the weapons were smuggled into Rwanda disguised as relief material.

At the time there was an international outcry at human rights abuses by the Hutu government as thousands of Tutsi were massacred.

Asked about the wisdom of an arms deal at such a sensitive time, Boutros-Ghali said he did not think that a ‘few thousand guns would have changed the situation’. His contacts with the Hutu regime have never been investigated.
Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced Government plans to establish a new correctional facility to confine extremist offenders.

He said a separate prison for extremist offenders will deter them from spreading their venom to vulnerable Kenyans.

President Kenyatta said the Government remained committed to containing offenders in conditions that enable rehabilitation to fit into society and make a positive contribution to their motherland.

“Reforming the character of a person is extraordinarily difficult. It demands compassion, sales skill in discerning the character of others, order and firmness, about it ” he said.

The President pointed out that the reform of offenders requires men and women willing to combine public service with the highest standards of care for fellow Kenyans.

“I trust that you will prove to Kenyans that you have what it takes to meet those standards, both today and throughout your terms of service,” President Kenyatta said when he addressed prison warders.

The President spoke during the passing out parade for over 2300 prison warders at the Prisons Staff Training College in Ruiru, Kiambu County on Tuesday.

It was the first Prison pass-out parade to be presided over by President Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta announced the Government’s plans to tailor its budgetary allocation to the prisons service in Kenya to meet the changing operational and logistic requirements.

“We will also improve the terms and conditions of service for all Prison personnel, so that the importance of their work is properly recognized and compensated,” said the President.

The Head of State commended Prison officers for rising above challenges they face to engage prisoners in formal education and vocational training programmes that hasten their reintegration to the community.

“Our correctional officers have not always had an easy time –   conditions of service have sometimes been challenging – but you have not lost your focus,” said the President.

He called on all agencies in the criminal justice system and partners to intensify collaborations with the Kenya Prisons Service to develop common approaches to penal reform so as to attain the noble goals of character change.

“We Kenyans believe in giving our prisoners a second chance,” he said, singling out the scheme under which inmates serve their jail terms  outside the walls of prison  in service to the nation, as one such programme.

He encouraged corrective programmes that not only rehabilitate the inmates but also ensure certain public works do not remain undone for lack of labour.

The President commended agencies and individuals who have supported the prisons, and the rehabilitation of inmates through upgrading infrastructure and capacity building.

“Let me thank the Vice-Chancellor, Kenyatta University, Professor Olive Mugenda and the Commissioner General of Prisons Mr. Isaiah Osugo, whose collaboration has brought real and tangible reform in the Prison sector,” he added.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkainsery challenged members of the disciplined forces graduating from the training institutions to put into practice the knowledge and skills they have acquired for quality service delivery.

Mr Nkaissery, at the same time, urged Kenyans to be loyal and patriotic to their motherland.

The Prisons Commissioner General thanked the President for sponsoring the secondary education for 54 students from Borstal institutions.


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