"I think being too lenient is becoming a problem. These criminals think they have a right to kill people," Museveni says at a pass-out ceremony of prison officers.
PIC: President Museveni (centre) with graduands at the pass-out ceremony on Thursday. (Credit: Eddie Ssejjoba)
PRISONS | PASS-OUT CEREMONY
LUZIRA - President Yoweri Museveni has warned he may consider hanging some death row inmates, saying his leniency has been "misunderstood" by criminals.
He said criminals are taking him for granted and continue killing people because of his soft stance on the application of the gallows. As such, he might have to "hang a few" to serve as an example.
"I think being too lenient is becoming a problem. These criminals think they have a right to kill people. So, I think I am going to revise a bit and hang a few," he said, while presiding over the pass-out ceremony of 919 prison officers at Luzira Prisons Grounds on Thursday.
"If you see the way they kill people, they need a lesson. We have been too soft. I think they have misunderstood it," Museveni said.
The Uganda Prisons last hanged convicts in 1999. No other hanging has been done since, thanks to pressure from civil society actors and the international community to do away with the extreme form of punishment.
Presently, there are 278 death row inmates at Luzira. Of these, 204 have since appealed their conviction and are awaiting judgment.
The fate of the other 74 hangs by the President's constitutional power to pardon them through the prerogative of mercy.
However, with the President's latest comments, they ought to worry.
Meanwhile, the recruits at Thursday's pass-out ceremony included over 706 warders and wardresses, and 200 officers.
Museveni said the recruits would enhance the manpower needs of the prisons services.
The Prisons launched a low-cost housing initiative, with as many as 480 single-roomed housing units already constructed for staff. Museveni, upon arrival at the venue, commissioned the houses moments before presiding over the pass-out ceremony.
The Uganda Prisons work force, according to the Prisons commissioner general, Dr Johnson Byabashaija, is now at 9,787. The team also has civilian support staff, who are 380.
Byabashaija said they have also paid attention to education in the rehabilitation process of inmates.
He asked that a Prisons Day is observed every July 16, to enable the Prisons assess reforms in the correctional sector. President Museveni agreed.
Meanwhile, Museveni warned the graduands against engaging in risky lifestyles that would expose them to HIV as well as send them behind bars, "not as warders, but as inmates".
"If you are attracted so much to dresses, you might find problems and end up in Luzira," he warned them.
The State Minister for Internal Affairs, Mario Obiga Kania, said the Prisons has contributed greatly to industry and agriculture, which, if funded well, can boost production and development.
Best-performing graduands received a mattress and a solar panel.
Guests were treated to a cocktail of performances by dancers, acrobats and the Prisons choir.
The acrobats put on display their athleticism
Traditional dances were also part of the entertainment
The ceremony was held at the Luzira Prisons Grounds
If you thought prison officers cannot sing, think again. There is plenty of talent in there
Prisons chief Johnson Byabashaija and Parliament's deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah and others received President Museveni on a warm Thursday
The President toured the new single-roomed housing units for prison staff
Museveni was received at the grounds, where he would preside over the pass-out ceremony of hundreds of prisons officers
Local religious leaders led prayers at the start of the ceremony
The President inspected the prisons officers
It was a sea of brown and maroon
The goose march in progress!
The best-performing graduands had a photo opportunity with the President
They each received a mattress and a solar panel