By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
The Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons Services, Johnson Byabashaija (pictured) has asked members of the National Unity Platform (NUP) to stop pestering him to release suspects in his custody, saying he has no powers to do so.
He says the missiles targeting his office should be directed at the committing agencies.
Byabashaija made the remarks while appearing before Parliament’s Human Rights Committee that had summoned the Prisons Services to explain the continued detention without trial of mental health suspects in prisons across the country.
“I have been getting missiles from all quarters these days I get missiles from a group called NUP. Me I don’t know the NUP suspects in my custody, I have suspects. And they want me to release them, how? It isn’t me who brought these people. And I have no power to release anybody, it is the incarcerating institutions which says release, but I am not responsible for releasing, absolutely not responsible,” said Byabashaija.
However, Allan Mayanja (Nakaseke Central) wondered why the Prisons boss hasn’t bothered to make recommendations to the other government agencies to release suspects that have been in prisons custody for long without trial, instead of feigning helplessness.
Fox Odoi, Chairperson Human Rights Committee however defended Byabashaija saying his actions are within his legal mandate as the Prisons boss.
“Every government institution is a creature of the law, they have a legal mandate and he can’t go beyond his mandate I think that is what he tried to say. His mandate is to lock them up when they are handed over to him,” remarked Odoi.
The development comes at the time when in October 2022, the National Unity Platform (NUP) party revealed that at least 458 Ugandans are missing from their families and their whereabouts remained unknown, although the list containing details of these missing people from NUP only had names of 243 people.