By Mubiru Ivan
Prisoners have revealed that Uganda’s unfair justice system has kept many of them in jail.
They say that many criminal investigations of cases and arrests are not conducted well and thoroughly.
“Many times when police arrest you and find out you are innocent they work with the complainant and fabricate a case against you,” said Tom Kawalya, the head of prisoners at Kigo Prison.
He said that this usually happens with defilement and rape allegations, which usually arise out of misunderstandings over property and land amongst relatives.
He noted that torturing and threatening of suspects is still common with police forcing people to give false evidence.
“Police does not properly investigate cases; a police officer will come to court and testify over something they have no idea about,” said Kawalya.
The inmates raised the concern to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, during her visits to Bufulubi, Jinja main, Luzira and Kigo prisons last weekend where she presented Christmas gifts to them.
The prisoners also complained about poor feeding, health facilities, congestion, denial of the right to vote and delayed appeals in court.
In Murchison Bay Prison, Luzira, Moses Abehikye, the inmates’ representative said that prisoners need to be given a chance to vote, a right accorded by the Constitution. He said that Parliament has been silent about the denied constitutional right.
“Inmates who are Ugandans remain citizens even when they are convicted, they should be accorded the right to vote,” he said.
Adding, “We also want the Speaker to plead with the President over the prerogative of mercy for the elderly inmates. By the time they grow old they have been corrected,”
The Speaker noted the complaints raised by the prisoners and promised to come up with solutions to them.
“Parliament took a resolution increasing the pay when working out of the prisons; we also asked the government to increase the judges to respond to all the appeals and cases and we will look into the length of sentences given to young and very old people so that they are reduced,” she said.
Kadaga also promised to ask the House Committee on Human Rights to examine issues that affect the prisoners in the country.
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