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Friday, August 19, 2022

Crossfire: Byabashaija fires back at Bobi Wine on claims of diarrhea wave & other ‘dire’ Kitalya Prison conditions, tells him ‘lies’ won’t take him to State House

Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) Commissioner General Johnson Byabashaija has told National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi lies will not take him to State House.

Byabashaija’s comments came after Bobi Wine claimed there had been a wave of diarrhoea at Kitalya Prison as he detailed ‘horrible’ conditions in Uganda prisons.

Bobi Wine’s claims

I have been permitted to see [NUP detainees] at Kitalya two times now. Yes, their spirits are not fazed. Their resolve is even firmer. But their bodies are weak and frail.

Very many of them have fallen very sick behind the walls of Kitalya. The hygiene behind those walls is sickening. The state of healthcare is alarming. The indignity!

Those who are critically ill are simply asking for an opportunity to see their private doctors, or to be transferred to meaningful health facilities.

According to them, they are only given pain killers and sometimes a few antibiotics at the facility, regardless of the severity of their conditions.

Demands for better medical attention have been repeatedly shot down with a reminder that they are in prison!

Recently some of our comrades who were released from Kitalya informed us of a wave of diarrhoea which has hit the prison. Because of a strict lock up policy, adults will often pass stool right inside the wards, where they also sleep.

They have complained of incredible congestion- hundreds of inmates being compressed in space meant for only a few. Yet every day, more prisoners are brought in!

The last time I was there, I listened to them as they narrated the conditions under which they live. Several of them showed all manner of skin diseases.

Some can hardly sleep- firstly because they are packed like logs on the floor with a few beddings, and secondly because of the bedbug infestation.

There is an acute water shortage. For some odd reason, the prison does not provide toilet paper! Only a few of them are allowed to use a toilet at a time.

They line up and wait for a chance to use a toilet. Some times, that chance does not even come because there is no water!

Bathing is also a hustle- the comrades have told us how they have to compete for the very little water available. At times, they take several days without having a bath.

Even the basic rights have long been taken away from these comrades. We took several books for them to read, but the prison authorities rejected them claiming that they were political in nature!

Apparently, the only books allowed in there are Love stories, and self help books like “Make money and grow rich.”

Even books about our country’s history are not permitted beyond the prison’s gate! I personally took several books for these comrades to read in this period, but was forced to return with them.

Unlike several prisons where TV sets are placed in wards, our comrades have made the request to have a TV set in the wards, even if at their own cost, but this too has been rejected.

Gen. Museveni must be very happy, seeing the punishment he has chosen to inflict on them. They have even requested to be allowed new sets of boxers after three months, but this too has been rejected!

They are not even allowed to exercise, except once a week when they are allowed to play a game for about three hours. Some of our comrades have been used to working out every day, in order to keep healthy and fit.

But at Kitalya, if one is found doing push-ups, that is a severe crime! Then you’re accused of plotting to escape from prison or planning to beat up prison warders!

The punishment given is even more humiliating – one is taken for solitary confinement in a room filled with water, for several days.

I am sure the comrades who have come out will have occasion to tell these stories better, but I wanted to tell you that our comrades are living under dire conditions.

Byabashaija’s response

What he [Bobi Wine] describes is not what we are as Uganda Prisons Services.

Late Katatumba’s son has been to Kitalya just like lawyer Nicholas Opiyo and Minister Mwesigwa Rukutana. They have all testified about what the saw while there and how come none of them can corroborate what Mr. Kyagulanyi is saying about us?

It’s true he [Bobi Wine] might be having his political grievances which he is free to express but it’s possible for him to do that without unnecessarily dragging us in his politics.

I don’t see how falsely accusing and demonizing the Uganda Prisons Services can get him anywhere near the Presidency.

If we are that bad and subjecting inmates to torture as he alleges, including denying them access to adequate medical care, how come none of his aides has died for all this period they have been at Kitalya?

Pearl Times Reporter
Pearl Times Reporterhttps://pearltimes.co.ug
Latest Uganda news, politics, business, health and entertainment coverage.

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