Congestion: Prisons boss orders probe at Kitalya

Dr Johnson Byabashaija, the Commissioner General of Prisons. PHOTO | FILE

BY ANDREW BAGALA
The Commissioner General of Prisons has ordered an investigations into allegations of deaths and inhuman treatment of inmates at Kitalya Prisons after Nakaseke South MP, who was remanded there, shared his experience.
Dr Johnson Byabashaija said Mr Paulson Luttamaguzi’s allegations were serious, and he had sent the prisons’ inspectorate unit to investigate the facility.
“I take responsibility for whatever happens there, including allegations. But its a person who alleges that must prove. These are serious allegations though. We have agencies to handle this. On my part, I will find out,” Dr Byabashaija said yesterday through social media platforms while responding to demands that he takes action.
“Our Inspectorate is on the ground. I have to satisfy myself that all is okay. It is my duty. We correct what is not right if any. That is control,” he responded to one comment.
Mr Luttagamazi’s shared his ordeal in a televised narrative.
The MP was remanded by a court in Nakaseke District after he was accused of holding a rally that government said would lead to crowding likely to spread coronavirus in the community.

Allegations
Mr Luttamaguzi said he was put in a crowded room with more than 360 inmates, adding that they were so packed that none could turn around.
“Every two inmates were given a cup of water to share a day. The prison warders served maize flour that was milled with parts of the maize seeds. The posho they serve can even tear apart the stomach of a pig,” he said.
The prison is one of the facilities that was reserved as isolation centre for new inmates as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.
It has been receiving inmates from Kampala City, Greater Luweero area and parts of Wakiso District since March 2020 when the country registered its first coronavirus case.
Mr Luttagamuzi said most of the inmates had minor cases, but they were not given a chance to get bail or face trial.
Mr Frank Baine, the spokesperson of prisons, said the creation of isolation centres was to prevent the spread of coronavirus to old inmates.
Uganda has the second overcrowded prisons in Africa with more than 55,229 inmates.
An Internal Affairs’ ministerial statement for this financial year indicates that the prisons holding capacity is 17,304 inmates.
“However, congestion/occupancy levels increased from 306.9 per cent to 319.2 per cent due to a 4.1 per cent increase in prisoners. The population is at 55,229 prisoners,” the statement reads in part.

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