By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The political prisoners who were arrested during the presidential elections who are locked up at Kitalya prison last week revealed to MPs shocking stories of neglect and pains coupled with mistreatment in the hands of security operatives.
Members of parliament on the Human Rights committee had gone to the prison to do an onsite assessment of the conditions in the sprawling incarceration complex which is located 54 kilometres from Kampala in Wakiso district.
Most of the political prisoners include among others NUP supporters led by Buken Ali aka Nubian Li, told the MPs that the conditions at the prison are horrible and some of their colleagues were in dire health condition.
Speaking on behalf of other prisoners, Nubian Li complained of denial of bail rights and also presented a handwritten four-page petition to the parliamentary human rights committee.
“Some of our people have been released and rearrested but for three months now they have never had a chance to access their lawyers,” Nubian Li said.
Legislators interacted with Sharif Onager, 35, a personal assistant to former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi whom they found lying in pain with a cannula connected to his vein.
“Look at this X-ray, I was injured and sustained a fracture in the chest but the prison authorities keep us here on painkillers instead of seeking better health care somewhere else”, Onager told the MPs when they ventured into the medical facility at the prison.
Charles Mpanga, 25, a member of NUP‘s digital media expert said some of his body organs were failing yet he had not received adequate medical attention.
“It seems I have problems with my kidney following the beating during the arrest in Kalangala. Urinating has been a problem. Other body organs also seem to be failing,” Mpanga, wincing in pain, told the MPs.
Geoffrey Butalya, 27, a NUP supporter complained of chest pain.
“I was battered and I suspect to have sustained fracture in the chest during our arrest in Kalangala but I have never received the right treatment,” he said.
The MPs tasted prison food and found solid particles in the beans.
“You see, for us women, I tasted the beans. It needs a little more sorting of the small stone particles,” said Agnes Taaka, the chairperson of the Human Rights committee.
David Nsalasatta, the director of production at the prison pledged to improve on the conditions.
“Some of these challenges are as a result of low funding and a huge number of inmates but hope is not over. I think there is room for improvement,” he said.
Kitalya maximum prison opened years ago and it accommodates over 2,379 inmates according to information from the Uganda Prisons service.