Prisons are tasked by President Yoweri Museveni to treat inmates with caution, emphasizing that prisoners are people who require little guidance about behavioural change.
President Yoweri Museveni has tasked prisons to treat inmates with caution bearing in mind that they are human beings who only need tipping guidance on behavioural change.
“I task you to treat inmates as human beings, concentrate on behavioral change and lay emphasis on skills that can help prisoners after their term of incarceration,” Museveni said.
He made the remarks while officiating at the pass-out ceremony of 2,018 Prison Warders and Wardresses at Kololo ceremonial grounds on Friday.
In part of his speech, he also challenged prisons to thrive their construction unit saying that this will not only save them from incurring costs in the building but also help them fetch lots of income from other building projects internally and outside the country.
He made the statement in response to an earlier comment by the Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaija in regards to the issue of congestion for inmates.
“Our congestion at the moment is 360%. This is a very serious issue because it impacts on the morbidity and mortality of inmates and the health of the staff,” Dr Byabashaija cried out.
However, in response to this, the president challenged that this should not be an issue to prisons because they have a good construction unit. He said they should build other extensions themselves.
“I know prisons have good construction units. If you know how to build houses why don’t you build more prisons by yourselves so that the Ministry of Internal Affairs only looks for money to buy materials and you concentrate on building prisons,” Museveni said.
“The army had that problem of contractors. They were about to kill Uganda. When I analysed for the army people, I showed them they were in the wrong direction.”
The president explained that many contractors in Uganda are poor and they do not own the necessary capital to run their businesses without support from the banks.
Museveni said this has resulted in the cost of building being so high in the country in that instead of building a facility for one billion shillings, one will need to pay about shs1.8 billion and the additional money is for non-construction activities including profits for commercial banks and government taxes.”
“They don’t have their own capital When you give them jobs to construct, they go to commercial banks, borrow money at 24% to come and buy materials Because they are private sector people, they want a profit of 20%. Already, you have got 44% additional money. Nothing to do with building but the contractor will first have to pay banks and then make a big profit. There is also 18% VAT,” Museveni explained.
He, however, implored prisons to consider boosting their units saying this will be even effective in the long run.
“Do the work yourself so that we get enough prisons and accommodation for the staff. We should only be struggling with money to buy materials like cement and iron bars,” the president noted citing an example of the American army that built the railway line of their own country.
“Don’t lament about buildings when you have got builders. You can earn money from the public. The Chinese road companies originally many were army construction companies. It is when they finished building all houses in China that government told them to go abroad and get money from sleeping ones. You can build for the public not only in Uganda but also outside the country,” he added.