Relocation of Luzira Prisons Sparks Debate among MPs

A formal motion will be introduced in Parliament to determine the relocation of Luzira Prisons to make way for the construction of a five-star hotel.

Relocation of Luzira Prisons Sparks Debate among MPs
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A formal motion will be introduced in Parliament to determine the relocation of Luzira Prisons to make way for the construction of a five-star hotel.

On Wednesday, 24 April 2024, the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi presented a statement stating that the dilapidated prison built in the 1920s is facing a strain caused by the growing number of inmates and staff which now stands at 8,790 and 2,653, respectively.

Muhoozi presented the three positions to address the situation starting with renovations and expanding the current Luzira facilities at a cost of approximately Shs400 billion.

He added that the other option is relocating the prison at government expense while retaining the land and facilities at Luzira for other purposes.

“The last option is relocating Luzira Prisons to another site, with an estimated cost of Shs934 billion to facilitate effective custody, rehabilitation and reformation of offenders at the cost of the developer,” he added.

However, Members of Parliament expressed their reservations on the proposals by the minister.

Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA, Bugiri Municipality, Bugiri) voiced scepticism, stating that the relocation of Luzira Prisons is a guise to grab land. He added that Tian Tang Group which is proposing to construct the hotel, is blacklisted and heavily indebted.

Kasilo County MP, Hon. Elijah Okupa questioned the need for such a vast expanse of land wondering why a hotel needs all the 260 acres.

Hon. Eric Musana (Independent, Buyaga East County) advocated against relocation, suggesting that, ‘things are failing; for Luzira land, let it be a preserve of prisons, let us get land elsewhere’.

Hon. Jane Avur (NRM, Pakwach District Woman Representative) proposed an alternative location for the hotel.

 "It is time that we focus on tourism cities in this country and Pakwach offers the best so far. We have a mass body of water there. I am proposing that the five-star hotel must go to that area so that we take development out of Kampala,” she said.

Jinja District Woman Representative, Hon. Loy Katali expressed concern about giving away prime land at no cost.

"Relocating the prisons means giving out prime land for free. If the worst comes to the worst, they can sell off a few acres and reconstruct the prisons at Luzira," she added.

Hon. Juliet Kinyamatama (NRM, Rakai District Woman Representative) stated that the proposal to relocate the prisons is a scam.

Hon. Fredrick Angura (NRM, Tororo County South) sided with the proposal to relocate the prisons saying that all over the world,  correctional facilities are not in the city centres adding that, ‘Luzira is slowly and surely being eaten up by urbanisation’.

Erute County South MP, Hon. Jonathan Odur said a substantive motion should be presented adding that discussing on the relocation as it was, legitimises the process.

Speaker Anita Among said that the decision to relocate the prisons is an Executive order, but agreed with the proposal by Odur that a substantive motion on the matter of relocation of the prison should be moved

“We would rather have a motion and say, ‘since the land of Uganda Prisons belongs to the people of Uganda, it is in our considered opinion that, the land that is being occupied by the Uganda prisons remains a property of Uganda prisons’,” the Speaker guided.

The Leader of Opposition, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi said that there have been many cases where land has been given away and no development undertaken.

 “We have seen land being given away and there is no development and so there is lack of trust. That is the biggest issue here.  When there is no trust even when you have a good idea, they will not buy into it,” he said.

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