Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Inmates in Luzira Prisons have pleaded with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga seeking pardon for their elderly colleagues struggling to survive in Prisons. It came when Kadaga visited at Luzira prisons to deliver gifts to inmates including sugar, salt, clothing, soap, sandals, flour, basins and jerrycans among other things ahead of Christmas.
The speaker also sent gifts to inmates at Kigo, Bufulubi Prisons in Mayuge district and Kirinya Prisons in Jinja district. At Luzira prisons, the inmates complained about congestion, detention for long without trial and the poor living conditions in the facility. There are over 50,000 inmates in Ugandan Prisons, which have capacity for 20,000 inmates.
Geoffrey Mukasa, one of the inmates at Luzira prison, told Kadaga that there are hundreds of prisoners in their 80’s, some of whom have been on remand for more than ten years. He says many of the inmates have been jailed unfairly because of land wrangles.
Kadaga promised to bring the plight of the inmates to parliament during their next sitting next year. On the issue of pardoning inmates, Kadaga said on some occasions the president uses his prerogative of mercy on days like New Year, independence and Christmas to pardon older inmates who are weak and could perish in Prisons.
Kadaga told journalists that the inmates also expressed concern about their inability to participate in the electoral process.
An inmate who presented a message on behalf of female inmates at Luzira prison only identified as Elizabeth said that while in Prison, they enjoy free education and learn different skills that will help them when they leave prisons. She called for a better justice system that will transform lives of Prisoners.
Other challenges faced by women inmates is absence of facilities for children locked up with their mothers.
Babirye Vanity, the Officer in charge of Jinja Womens Prisons, said they a facility like a day care for the children of female inmates, saying they currently experience psychological torture and mix with people different kind of characters.