Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Kahinda Otafiire has proposed that new prisons facilities be constructed to decongest Luzira Maximum Security Prison.
Otafiire, while meeting MPs in the Committee on Human Rights, said it is the sure way to deal with congestion in prisons.
“Ideally the prisons were built for five to seven million people. It should be relocated and built in a more spacious location and expanded to accommodate the numbers. We are now over 37 million people and the crime rate has increased. So when resources are available, we should effect [the transfer],” said Otafiire.
At the time of establishing the prisons in Luzira, said Otafiire, the capital city stopped at Silver Springs in Nakawa Division and that the idea of having the main prisons in Kampala is obsolete.
Committee Chairperson Jovah Kamateeka (NRM, Mitooma district) tasked the Minister to address congestion in prisons, which she said offends the inmates’ rights.
“Be mindful that the major issue affecting our prisons is over congestion, we want your position on the issue of congestion,” said Kamateeka.
The Committee was receiving government responses to a report authored by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC).
MPs said the issue of compensation arising from court and tribunal awards should be given priority by government.
“The major challenge is the escalating court and tribunal awards, which is [Ushs.] 680 billion, but we cannot break banks to get the money,” said Otafiire.
MP Safia Nalule (NRM, PWD Central) said government should pay attention to human rights issues, especially torture.
Nalule said the case of renegade Assistant Superintendent of Police Muhammad Kirumira’s arrest was “rude and should never have happened.”
Otafiire promised to raise the issue of torture before the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo and Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura.