Close to 2,000 prisoners could be released in a
move to decongest the facilities as one of the control measures to contain the
spread of the Coronavirus Disease-COVID19.
The Commissioner-General of the Uganda Prisons Services, Dr.
Johnson Byabashaija, says they have written to the Attorney General, William
Byaruhanga asking the government to consider pardoning petty offenders who have
already served at least three-quarters of their sentences, breastfeeding
mothers and inmates aged above 65.
Speaking to Journalists shortly after interfacing with the
Appointments Committee of Parliament over the renewal of his contract,
Byabashaija said the Attorney General will forward the list to the pardons
committee that will eventually advise President, Yoweri Museveni.
//Cue in; “We have selected…
Cue out…decongest the prisons.”//
Dr Byabashaija noted that they have also written to the
Registrar of Courts to release persons whose remand period has expired. He, however, said this excludes inmates on capital offences.
//Cue in; “We are also…
Cue out…get the right.”//
Byabashaija notes that there need to ensure that prison staff
and new inmates don’t infect serving prisoners. He said that the frontline
staff is currently camping at the prisons to avoid going to the barracks while
all new inmates are separately taken to Kitalya Prison to avoid mixing with
//Cue in; “you are aware…
Cue out….going to do.”//
Meanwhile, sources privy to proceedings of the Appointments
Committee told URN that Byabashaija’s re-appointment as Commissioner-General
hangs in balance because he has exceeded the retirement age of 60-years.
When asked about the development, Byabashaija said that he
had retired from Public Service in 2005 at the age of 47 and that the question
of retirement age doesn’t arise since he currently serves on a contract basis.
//Cue in; “I think I…
Cue out…will pass me.”//
Aged 62, Byabashaija who has served as Commissioner General
of Prisons for 15 years is optimistic that the committee will approve his
re-appointment by the President. His deputy James Mwanje was also vetted by the