“Behind these walls, I have redirected my life. I now understand God has a special plan for me. Being locked up does not keep me from enjoying life,” says 30-year-old Ambrose Katungwesi, 30, a convict serving a 12-year jail term in Luzira Maximum Prison.
By Petride Mudoola
“Behind these walls, I have redirected my life. I now understand God has a special plan for me. Being locked up does not keep me from enjoying life,” says 30-year-old Ambrose Katungwesi, 30, a convict serving a 12-year jail term in Luzira Maximum Prison. Katungwesi was convicted of robbery.
“I ended up in jail after living a reckless lifestyle,” he says, with a look of regret on his face. “We all learn from our past. All we can do is move forward, think positively and try to live a better life.”
Katungwesi stands about 5’6 tall and his small, deep set eyes portray a glimmer of hope whenever he refers to his new found life in Christ. He feels there is a purpose behind every trial and tribulation.
He has undergone a spiritual revival which has borne fruit of peace and joy in his life. He says his time in jail has not been futile and he has learnt that life is too short and precious to waste on negativity.
“I have been able to reflect on my past as well as change my perception of life. I will strive to be compassionate and useful to the nation upon discharge,” Katungwesi declares.
The teenage dreams of the 18-year-old Katungwesi have since evolved into manly plans of finding a 20 to 35-year-old woman, who is God-fearing and economically stable, to marry. Katungwesi’s sentence ends this year.
Regardless of race, and looks, Katungwesi is willing to nurture a relationship and is positive he will make a good husband.
On his personal attributes, he says he is kind, caring, articulate, intelligent and faithful. He enjoys laughing and making others laugh. If the glow on his dark, chocolate-coloured skin is anything to go by, Katungwesi should not be single long after leaving jail.
He says those interested should visit him at Luzira Upper Prison, during visitation days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 10:00am and 4:00pm. He adds that those going to see him should carry identification.
The US, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, France, Denmark, Japan and Saudi Arabia are some of the countries that allow prisoners conjugal rights.
Last year, prisoners at Luzira requested to be granted the right to have sex with their companions within the prison walls.
The plea was made on World AIDS Day. Inmates said it would help in their rehabilitation.
The Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaija, however, said such privileges could not be granted under the prevailing situation.
The prison has far more pressing issues to deal with such as improving the welfare of the prisoners,” he said.
The inmates noted that because they were condemned to death, they had no expectations of re-uniting with their spouses.
Citing congestion within prisons, Byabashaija noted: “Uganda Prisons Service has more pressing issues to deal with. Let me first find room to keep the inmates, then I can think about conjugal rights.”
Prison worker sp eaks Anatoli Biryomumaisho, a social worker and welfare officer at Luzira Upper Prison, says the public should avoid stigmatising people in detention centres, by labelling them prisoners.
“Having undergone rehabilitation in prison, prisoners and ex-prisoners remain reformed and capable of living a responsible life upon discharge.
Women who intend to date them should not be scared because anyone can turn out to be worse than the convicts,” Biryomumaisho observes.
He says a woman should be able to understand the convict before marrying him.
Convict yearning for love