President vows to innovate against tech-driven crime President Mnangagwa inspects a Quarter Guard on arrival at the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Training Depot in Ntabazinduna, Matabeleland North Province, where he presided over a pass out parade yesterday.

Nqobile Tshili-Bulawayo Bureau

THE Second Republic is committed to fostering innovation and allocating resources to develop strategies that address the complexities of crime in an era of rapid technological evolution, which presents formidable challenges to law enforcement and correctional services.

President Mnangagwa made these remarks as he addressed the 153rd graduation ceremony of 753 correctional officers at the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Training Depot in Ntabazinduna, Matabeleland North yesterday.

Before the ceremony, he was taken through a ZPCS exhibition which showcased innovative projects and crafts by inmates as a cornerstone of their rehabilitation and societal reintegration process.

In addition, he engaged with members of the San community, who have been incorporated into the prison and correctional system, exemplifying the Second Republic’s pledge to inclusivity.

The President acknowledged potential risks brought about by global technological advancements and said his Government was committed to endorsing strategies designed to counteract technology-facilitated criminal activities.

“In recognition of the critical role played by the ZPCS in our nation’s criminal justice system, I reaffirm that my Government will continue to fully support the service to fulfil its mandate, as evident in the transformation witnessed since the Second Republic. Our constantly evolving world, in this era of technological advancements, poses significant challenges to law enforcement agencies and correctional services,” he said.

“As such, training, professional development as well as infrastructure development, and availing the resources necessary for the effective operation of correctional facilities and rehabilitation initiatives will continue to be scaled up. This includes the requisite investments in the development of innovative strategies and programmes to address the root causes of crime and ever-looming risk of re-offenders.”

President Mnangagwa urged ZPCS to work together with Government agencies and external partners with a focus on developing and reinforcing measures that tackle existing problems within the criminal justice system.

He said crime prevention requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses the social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to criminal behaviour. 

The President stressed that correctional officers joining the system were expected to uphold high levels of integrity.

“Under the Second Republic, all members of the security services and public service in general are expected to be exemplary in whatever they do. As trained and disciplined officers, you should adhere to the norms and values that govern your day-to-day operations. Those with corrupt tendencies have no place in the security services and in our Government,” said President Mnangagwa.

The Government’s commitment to gender balance and empowering women in the economy is evident in its ongoing efforts to integrate women into leadership roles within the security sector.

“It is my singular honour and privilege to be addressing you today as we celebrate the 752 new Correctional Officers who are graduating from the 153 Recruit Correctional Officers Course. Of these, 534 or 71 percent are male and 218 or 29 percent are female. This highlights efforts being made by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services with regard to gender promotion and women empowerment,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said correctional officers are recruited nationwide, reflecting the Government’s policy of promoting national diversity and social cohesion. 

“Their rigorous six-month training equips them to serve as guardians of justice, order, and rehabilitation within our society. As such, they are expected to uphold exemplary conduct.

“Always remain mindful that correctional officers are entrusted with the responsibility to safeguard the rights, dignity, and well-being of those under your care, while also working to facilitate their reintegration into society as law-abiding and productive citizens. This is a noble and sometimes challenging task, but one that is essential for the maintenance of a just and orderly society”.

President Mnangagwa hailed the well-rounded training of correctional officers which includes civic education that fosters cultural awareness and knowledge of the nation’s liberation history. 

“This equips them to be strong defenders of Zimbabwe’s values, identity, and national interests. As they embark on their new assignments, these officers will play a crucial role in safeguarding the gains of the liberation struggle and contributing to the country’s modernisation and industrialisation efforts,” he said.

President Mnangagwa commended the ZPCS for its innovative spirit as he highlighted their commercial projects, such as farming initiatives, which generate employment and economic growth.

He also acknowledged their distinguished service in international peacekeeping missions, representing Zimbabwe with honour.

“As you may be aware, at its core mandate of custodial care and rehabilitation, the ZPCS also plays a crucial role in promoting peace and security both within our borders and beyond. I am proud to note that Zimbabwean Correctional Officers have distinguished themselves on the international stage through their participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions. Their professionalism, discipline, and dedication to duty have earned them the respect and admiration of the international community, and I commend them for their service to humanity”.

President Mnangagwa applauded ZPCS for its forward-thinking approach by incorporating drug and substance abuse courses into its curriculum. 

He recognised this as a crucial step in addressing the national challenge of substance abuse.

“It is unfortunate that Zimbabwe, like many other countries, is grappling with the global menace of drug and substance abuse. I once again call upon our people, young and old alike, to reject drugs and substance abuse. Our national energies should be channelled towards production, productivity, and innovation across all sectors for the development, growth, and prosperity of our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe,” President Mnangagwa.

“The incorporation of drugs and substance abuse-related issues into the curriculum of the 43 Recruit Correctional Officers’ Course reinforces my Government’s multi-pronged efforts to tackle this menace.”

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