The global ranking of Uganda’s forces has improved greatly with the Uganda Prisons ranked the best in Africa and seventh in the world.Relatedly, Uganda Police, which has just marked its centenary celebrations, is among the top 100 in the world, according to the justice minister, Kahinda Otafiire.
By Steven Candia and David Lumu
The global ranking of Uganda’s forces has improved greatly with the Uganda Prisons ranked the best in Africa and seventh in the world.
Relatedly, Uganda Police, which has just marked its centenary celebrations, is among the top 100 in the world, according to the justice minister, Kahinda Otafiire.
Speaking on the achievements of the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) ahead of the annual review which starts today, Otafiire said the rankings of the two institutions — the Police and Prisons — are contained in two reports of international repute, attributing the improvements on deliberate efforts undertaken to improve the sector.
“As a result of the capacity building effort, Uganda Police is ranked 95th in the world and 20th in Africa in terms of reliability, according to the International Competitiveness Report 2014,” he said.
He added that the score is evidenced by 9% reduction in crime in the country.
“The Uganda Prisons Services was also ranked as the best in Africa and fourth in the world by the International Journal of Criminology and Justice in respect to prisoner rehabilitation programmes,” Otafiire said.
This created an instant smile on the face of James Mwanje, the Deputy Commissioner General of Prisons.
The latest African Journal of Criminology and Justice findings indicates that the reoffender rate in Uganda stands at only 32%, the best on the continent, followed by Zambia at 33%, Rwanda 36% and Kenya and Tanzania 47%. At 90%, the US has the worst reoffender rate followed by South Africa with 74%.
Luzira upper prison inmates receive 10 computers from Makerere University Business School (MUBS) Principal, Prof. Waswa Balunywa at Luzira Prison on October 29,2014. PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAJOBA
In a separate interview, Mwanje hailed the ranking, but said he expected a better performance. “They have underscored us. We should have been the best in the world,” Mwanje said.
He said several issues, among them improvement in the observance of inmates’ human rights and nutrition are better.
“Giving them three meals a day is no mean feat,” he said.
“We have also substantially reduced the usage of the buckets for toilet. We have done this in more than 62% of the prisons and hope to eliminate it totally by 2015/ 2016,” he said.
Several top officials from the 17 institutions that constitute JLOS attended the briefing.
For long, inmates in the country’s prisons used buckets as toilets. This became known as the bucket system, considered a violation of the human rights.
The Constitution provides for the right to a clean and healthy environment and also prohibits a person being subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
In the recent performance report, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) hailed the army, Police and Prisons for their improvement in observance of human rights, observations.
Otafiire said Uganda had continued to make improvements in the business sector, moving seven places from position 129 to 122, according to the Doing Business Index 2014.
This he attributed to reforms in registering business in the country and reduction in lead times to conduct a search.
Registration of business by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, he said, had come down from three months of five years ago to 30 days and is now at 16 working hours.
Among the improvements, Otafiire said there were plans to increase the magisterial courts from the present 38 to 59 and to also seek for the number of judges, especially in the Court of Appeal, to be raised, so as to facilitate a circuit court system, akin to the High Court.
Uganda Prisons best in Africa