By MP Zaake Francis Butebi
Statement on the plight of inmates at Kitalya government prison
On several occasions, top leaders of the National Unity Platform – NUP have been denied access to inmates at Kitalya Government Prison without just reason. This happens despite presenting negative COVID-19 Certificates. I am informed that this is because NUP Party officials are banned from visiting inmates.
Yesterday, after being turned away on two occasions, I was granted access to some of the inmates. This was after I threatened to report the Prison officials to Parliament.
Madam Speaker, it should be noted that many of the inmates at Kitalya are youth battling political crimes in military Courts.
Most of them have been detained for months without trial. They include:
(a) 36 members of Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi’s presidential campaign team led by Nubian Li, detained since January 2021;
(b) Johnbosco Sserunkuuma, the LC5 Councillor-elect for Nansana West Ward, detained since December 2020; and
(c) Mubiru James, the Lord Councillor-elect for Lubaga North.
This is in addition to many prisoners dumped in Kitalya without passing through the judicial system.
Several youth recently released from Kitalya Prison have complained to me about the poor conditions faced by inmates that violate their inherent dignity and value as human beings. These include:
Irregular power supply which makes inmates to miss their online court sessions.
Poor quality meals. Madam Speaker, Kitalya inmates are fed on low quality Posho crushed together with cobs
Many inmates end up with constipation and other diet related diseases.
MP-elect Ssegirinya Muhammad was released from the Prison a few days ago with severe stomach
complications. He is now admitted in hospital.
Irregular water supply. Inmates are forced to eat with unwashed hands on dirty plates, and spend days without a shower;
Fourthly; Inadequate supply of essential drugs. Sick inmates are treated with Panadol painkillers regardless of their disease and how severe it is. Those with chronic diseases such as ulcers, hypertension,
diabetes, etc. survive on God’s mercy.
There is no stand-by ambulance at the Prison to rush inmates to hospital whenever they suffer health
Those with personal doctors have been denied access to them.
Arbitrary censorship of and denial of access to reading materials including books and letters that Prison
authorities claim to be ‘political’ in nature.
Madam Speaker, these unfair conditions have worsened the suffering of inmates at Kitalya that is inherent in prison life. I therefore pray that Parliament investigates these complaints by:
(a) Physically visiting Kitalya Prison and randomly interviewing inmates;
(b) Summoning relevant prison authorities to provide an explanation.
Hon. Zaake Francis, MP Mityana Municipality, April 20, 2021