Botswana: Botswana Prison Service organised a conference in order to highlight a Re-Chencheng. The purposeful shift in the way they think about and look at ex-offenders will positively influence them to view life from a different perspective, leading to a reduced chance of re-offending.
Officiating during the Botswana Prison Service 1st Edition of the National Reintegration Conference in Tlokweng on Tuesday, the President of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, said, “our desire as a country is to rebuild a nation reputable for moral uprightness as imbedded in the Setswana culture. ”
“We hold tight to the sentiments expressed by the Botho social philosophy conveyed in the tagline, Motho ke motho ka batho. This is a form of social contract we aim to preserve as a progressive society,” he said.
The President stated that the recently launched National Mind-Set Change Campaign calls for change in the way ‘we think and conduct business to transform Botswana from an upper middle-income country to a high-income country with prosperous citizens, hence the slogan “A re chencheng”.
Botswana President expressed gratefulness that the Botswana Prison Service is one of the Government Departments that are doing well in the implementation of the Reset Agenda.
“I am not surprised that we are gathered here today in a conference of this magnitude, which is aimed at strengthening programmes geared towards promoting a safer Botswana,” he said.
He further highlighted that events of this nature, where stakeholders in the field of Offender Rehabilitation and Reintegration gather under one roof, create a conducive environment for dialogue on formalising and strengthening partnerships.
He reiterated that the Conference has granted the Prison Service, the Committees, Ex-offenders and all relevant stakeholders an opportunity to give each other feedback, share experiences, and chart the way forward in sustaining successful reintegration.
“We have a Setswana expression that says, “Se tshwarwa ke ntsa pedi ga se thata.’, it is thus imperative that we commit to supporting the Prison Service in this course to ensure that Botswana does not become a state submerged in the complexities of crime and social disintegration”, he concludes.”
The two-day Conference was hosted under a specific theme: Sustainable Reintegration; Key a Crime-free Botswana. The conference attracted 1300 delegates, including Reintegration Committee members, Dikgosi, Experts in the field of Offender Rehabilitation and Reintegration, the Academia Business Community, Financial Institutions, based organisations, Heads of Prisons/Correctional Services from the SADC Region and Singapore.
The Conference aimed at strengthening participation and fostering partnerships of all relevant stakeholders in rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.
“Reintegration takes place in the community, by the community and for the community. In effect, the most the State can do is to facilitate and support the endeavours by the community in this regard”.