LEGISLATURE - Senators have expressed concerns over the conditions of prisons and urged the line ministry to help improve them to required standards. A recent report compiled by the Senate commission in-charge of Foreign affairs and regional cooperation presented on October 11 indicates that the conditions of prisons do not meet required standards.
“The prisons are overcrowded, the total number of inmates in all prisons in Rwanda is 97,506 yet all prisons have capacity to accommodate 35, 970,” the report says.
Senator Valens Munyabagisha, the president of the commission said some inmates spend the whole night without sleeping due to overcrowding, a condition that violates their rights.
“Some of the prisons are old and leaking especially those built during the colonial era and therefore there is need to renovate them” Munyabagisha said.
Munyabagisha explained that prison wardens are not paid appropriate salaries like other government employees yet they work very hard to meet daily challenges.
Most of the employees earn between Frw10, 000 and Frw20, 000 per month and their salaries have not been revised for years in line with the living standards in the country.
Senator Augustin Iyamuremye gave an example of Kigali Central Prison commonly known as ‘1930’ which has become a problem to surrounding areas and questioned whether the affected people have the right to ask concerned authorities for a solution.
Minister of Internal Security, Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana explained that his ministry is working hard to address all problems experienced in some of the prisons.
Harerimana said that the government had set aside Frw23 million to pay salary arrears for the prison workers and promised that another Frw20 million has been budgeted for those who would still have arrears by next year.
Harerimana said one of the steps his ministry was taking to improve conditions for the inmates was relocating some prisons to other areas.
Senators agreed that they would carry out a survey after six months to evaluate the Ministry’s efforts to improve the situation.