Namibia, Zimbabwe prison services ink cooperation deal; talks continue on transfer of prisoners

Namibia, Zimbabwe prison services ink cooperation deal; talks continue on transfer of prisoners

By Agencies

Windhoek: Namibia and Zimbabwe have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)which seeks to elevate cooperation and collaboration in the crucial domain of correctional services.

The signing ceremony in Windhoek on Thursday was spearheaded by Raphael Tuhafeni Hamunyela, Commissioner-General of the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS), and Moses Chihobvo, Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS).

“This occasion marks a significant step towards strengthening the ties between our two countries and enhancing collaboration in the vital area of corrections,” Hamunyela said in a statement.

Hamunyela highlighted the longstanding, informal cooperation between the NCS and ZPCS, citing a series of reciprocal visits and exchanges over the past two years.

These included a benchmarking visit by Hamunyela to Zimbabwe in November 2022 and a return visit by Chihobvo to Namibia in July 2023. Additionally, delegations from both services participated in exchange programs and training workshops, underscoring the depth of their collaborative efforts.

Hamunyela expressed confidence that formalizing this partnership would benefit both correctional systems and the inmates they serve.

He also revealed ongoing discussions about an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons, allowing inmates to serve their sentences in their home countries, a proposal first introduced in 2019 to improve inmate welfare and operational efficiency.

In his remarks, ZPCS, Commissioner-General, Chihobvo echoed these sentiments, praising the formalization of their relationship as a significant milestone.

“This will certainly pave the way for intensifying exchange programmes. As ZPCS, we are eager to continue sharing our expertise and equally grateful to learn from your experiences,” he said.

A notable aspect of the MoU is the establishment of a Joint Technical Committee (JTC) to develop an action plan for its implementation. This committee will convene by July 30 and be hosted by the ZPCS.

Meanwhile, both leaders also committed to exploring further areas of mutual interest, particularly in staff training and development, which they believe will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their respective services.