KAMPALA – The Uganda Prisons Services has declined to release all suspects under custody on charges of idle and disorderly saying the institution doesn’t follow Presidential directive but rather directives from courts of law.
The revelation was made by Frank Baine, the Prisons Spokesperson while appearing on NTV Uganda on Thursday morning.
Baine said, “And as prisons, we don’t interpret letters, we follow the law. I can’t release those charged with ‘petty offences’ because I don’t have any directive. Besides, letters don’t give us orders, it is court that has the authority to conduct a case hearing and establish who is innocent and who should be released.”
He added, “There is no hurry and reason as to why we should panic over speculation because these prisoners have been in prison, the prison is known and we have them. When the right channels are followed, we shall release them.”
Baine’s remarks were in response to President Museveni’s directive issued to Police ordering the immediate release of suspects arrested on charges of idle and disorderly saying no person should be arrested for this crime.
In a police circular dated October 1, 2019, the Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola, instructed police officers to fully comply with the Presidential directive to stop arresting people on basis of being idle and disorderly adding that the president also directed that all those already arrested for the crime be released immediately.
Ochola’s circular read, “I hereby instruct all police officers to fully comply with H.E the president’s directive on the above subject matter.”
The IGP also said that the President had directed that all the people arrested by the Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) enforcement personnel in Kampala and are in prison for failure to pay a fine of Shs 1 million be released immediately but warned not to repeat the offence of selling merchandise on the pavements.
However, Museveni’s directive is now a subject of court battle after city lawyer Male Mabirizi petitioned court seeking an injunction to nullify President Museveni’s orders through the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to release all suspects who are facing charges of being idle and disorderly.
Mabirizi argued that the President and IGP have no powers to stop the police force from enforcing the laws of Uganda. The respondent, in this case, is the Attorney General.