Just after President Museveni extended his contract by two more years, Johnson Byabashaija, the Commissioner General for Prisons has laid out the plan for his final years of service.
Addressing the media at his home in Kigo on Sunday, Byabashaija revealed that during his last term, he intends to finalize the plan of preparing a team of successors within the institution.
“Before the end of my previous term I had a number of Directors and Commissioners who could ably take over from me. I am going to use this opportunity to expose them more so as they can be ready,” he said.
Byabashaija adds that as he heads into retirement together with the team that joined the Prisons in 1980s, they have to prepare the new guard to take over smoothly with limited internal friction.
He further noted that from his vast experience, he believes that his next successor must come from within the institution to avoid messing it up or driving it backwards.
Byabashaija was reappointed on a contract basis by President Yoweri Museveni after parliament declined to renew his tenure having clocked retirement age.
“Before receiving the news of extension of my contract, I had packed all belongings from office and they were with me at home because you cannot pre-empt or speculate with the appointing authority,” he said.
The Prisons boss says in his final term, he is to emphasize professionalizing the Prisons services through more training.
“We are doing junior NCO course, senior NCO course and senior command course for non-commissioned officers. For the seniors we are doing senior leadership course in Kyankwanzi and intermediate courses with the help of the Police.”
On the side of production, he revealed that as per presidential directive requiring Prisons to have 44000 acres of cotton farms, he has already reached 7000 acres and he has hope that by the end of this term he will have reached 15000 acres
Among other achievements Bashaija has registered is the construction of Kitalya Mini Max prison which can accommodate 2000 inmates
“Under my leadership we have been able to change the prisons service image. Other forces like Police and the army used to refer to Prisons officers as ‘Women’ but currently all this has changed.”
“By the time I joined this service it had 4000 officers and currently the number has grown to 11000 including trainees.”
Byabashaija joined the prisons in 1989 as a cadet Assistant Superintendent of prisons. In 1992 he was promoted to Senior Superintendent of Prisons and in 1999 he became Assistant Commissioner of Prisons and later in 2005 he became the Commissioner General.