6 December 2018

Uganda: 2,000 Prisoners Seek Presidential Pardon

Photo: Alex Esagala/The Monitor
Inmates at Luzira Maximum Security Prison during a recent visit by military officers.

Kampala — The Uganda Prisons Service have listed 2,100 inmates for presidential pardon.

The Constitution empowers the President to pardon prisoners on the presidential prerogative of mercy upon advice of the Committee of Clemency and the Attorney General (AG).

The Prisons spokesperson, Mr Frank Baine, said the list was submitted to the AG in August and they are waiting for a response from the President's Office.

"We submitted the list of names of different categories of prisoners who qualify for the pardon. The names were sent to the authorities for consideration because the names are approved by the President," Mr Baine said yesterday.

He did not disclose the names on the list of prisoners for presidential pardon, but said they include the elderly, expectant and breastfeeding mothers and terminally ill.

In a separate interview, the Commissioner General of Prisons, Mr Johnson Byabashaija, said they routinely submit such lists for presidential pardon.

When contacted, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, yesterday declined to divulge any details.

"You will know when the list is out," Gen Otafiire said by telephone.

Efforts to get a comment from the AG, Mr William Byaruhanga, were futile. He said in a reply phone message that he could not speak.

The last time the President pardoned prisoners was in 2013.

In 2012, President Museveni released Sharma Kooky, who was convicted of murdering his wife, Renu Joshi, and sentenced to death. He had spent 12 years in Luzira.

Others are Brig Ali Fadhul, a former minister for provincial administration in Idi Amin's regime, who was released in 2009 after spending more than 20 years in prison.

Former minister for Security in the Obote II government, Mr Chris Rwakasisi, who had been on death row for two decades, was released in the same year.

Another beneficiary of the presidential prerogative of mercy is Mr Abdallah Nasur, former Central Province Governor during Amin's regime (1971-1979), who was released in 2001 after spending 20 years in prison.

Mr Nasur had been sentenced to death in 1981 for murder of Francis Walugembe, a former mayor of Masaka.

Among the prominent convicts at Luzira are former Tooro kingdom prime minister John Katuramu, Dalton Apollo Nyangasi (former trade unionist), Jackie Uwera Nsenga (convicted for murdering her husband Juvenale Nsenga), and Tom Nkurungira alias Tonku (Kampala businessman) and Johnson Kamya, who was convicted for murdering a police man who as escorting a bullion van from Entebbe to Kampala in late 1990s.

Others include former Arua Municipality MP Hussein Akbar Godi, Lydia Draru, Kato Kajubi, a businessman convicted for murdering a juvenile and James Aurien (former Mukono District Police Commander).

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