By Petride Mudoola
OVER the years in Luzira Prison, football has been the best form of relaxing or entertainment for most inmates.
Each day after an engaging game of football, inmates retire exhausted and cannot wait for yet another day to take on their opponents.
Unfortunately, over the last couple of months inmates have not been in position to enjoy football or any other sport as the Prison’s main pitch was sealed off for renovation.
Sports activities on the pitch were so intense that it would become water-logged whenever it rained making it impossible to hold any sports events.
However, the good news is that inmates could be in position to use the facility later this month, thanks to the support from various financiers including Vision of Africa.
“Besides funding obtained from Vision of Africa and personal initiative from inmates, there was no budget allocation set aside to facilitate the renovation of the pitch,” says Wilson Magomu the Officer in Charge of Upper Prison.
Magomu says they have so far spent sh5m towards renovation of the pitch, of which sh3m was acquired from sister Maria the director of Vision for Africa while sh2m was donated by Johnson Kamya Wavamuno —an inmate with passion for sports.
Magomu however pointed that the growth of grass on the pitch was affected by the extended spell of very limited rains.
“The grass could have grown much better or faster than that but the previous dry season affected its development.”
Inmates now idle
Before the renovation started, the pitch used to keep inmates occupied. However, they have become redundant since there is limited space for them to engage in sports activities, Magomu added.
Gabula Africa, the Chairperson of the committee responsible for rehabilitating Luzira Upper Prison pitch says the pitch does not only serve as a sports facility but also serves as a health project that helps to improve inmates’ health.
Gabula observes that: “Before it’s renovation, there were many cases of malaria infection among inmates because the pitch was water logged and had become a mosquito breeding area. When dusty, prisoners would suffer from cough but greening the pitch has reduced such infections.”
Extra finances needed
Gabula cited a lack of funds to procure fertilizers as one of the challenges affecting the renovation of the pitch. He says Upper Prison requires sh5m towards procurement of fertilizers.
He further mentioned that spraying cans, wheel barrows, hoes, fertilizers, grass cutting machines, water sprinklers, and soil compactor were among the equipment required to complete the renovation of the pitch.
“Sports performs a very important role in prison, by the nature of sports which is filled with rules and regulations, it’s the most important component that provides information to the deviant. It’s not just for entertainment but it helps to rehabilitate prisoners,” Gabula says.
There is need to improve sports by making it accessible to everybody.
Gabula appealed to corporate organisations to consider sponsorship for the ten teams playing in the Prison’s football league, as well as provide them with items such as soccer kits, boots, jerseys, training kits, referee uniforms, whistles, copies of FUFA, FIFA rules and the football constitution.