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He might be in prison but Nashaba's family lacks nothing

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th August 2012 02:56 PM

Paddy Nashaba, 43, has been in Kirinya Prison, Jinja, for 21 years, but his children have never spent a day without food or lacked school fees. It is not because Nashaba is rich, has wealthy relatives or left assets to provide for his family.

He might be in prison but Nashaba's family lacks nothing

Paddy Nashaba, 43, has been in Kirinya Prison, Jinja, for 21 years, but his children have never spent a day without food or lacked school fees. It is not because Nashaba is rich, has wealthy relatives or left assets to provide for his family.

By Petride Mudoola 
 
Paddy Nashaba, 43, has been in Kirinya Prison, Jinja, for 21 years, but his children have never spent a day without food or lacked school fees. It is not because Nashaba is rich, has wealthy relatives or left assets to provide for his family.
Nashaba, is providing for his family — from the fruits of his sweat while in detention. 
 
Ending  up in jail 
Nashaba, who hails from Kabira sub-county, Kitagata parish in Mitoma district, ended up in prison after leaving home for Kampala following a disagreement with his father. 
 
“I was forced to leave a pregnant wife and a set of twins. While in Kampala, I ended up engaging in robbery due to poverty,” Nashaba narrates wistfully. 
 
In 1991, Nashaba, then 22 years old, watched crestfallen as the High Court of Kampala read his sentence that sent him to the gallows. 
 
“I did not expect to be sentenced to death. I never participated in the robbery but I was convicted because I carried out the reconnaissance,” Nashaba confesses. 
 
Despite his criminal record, he is remorseful about his actions. 
“I tried to reach out to the person I offended, but since I was in detention, I failed to access him having received information that the head of the family had died,” Nashaba says. 
 
As luck would have it, on June 13, 2005, Nashaba’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when Susan Kigula and 417 death row inmates petitioned the Constitutional Court against the death penalty. 
 
The Constitutional Court ruled that prisoners, who have been on death row for more than three years should have their sentence commuted to life imprisonment. Having spent 17 years on death row, Nashaba’s sentence was commuted from death to life imprisonment, but was not considered for possibility of early release.
 
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Nashaba working
 
“Having had children with different women, I lost contact with my twins and the mother of my last-born (currently in Senior One) got married to another man saying I had been executed in prison,” Nashaba laments.  
 
Getting into crafts making
As the bread winner, Nashaba chose not to twiddle while his children faced the risk of dropping out of school due to lack of school fees. 
 
“I proposed to the prisons administration to set up a project on crafts making, as is the case for Luzira Upper Prison. The Commissioner General of Prison, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija approved the proposal,” Nashaba proudly says. 
 
How he started
“I started by learning how to make beads from the tutors brought in by the prison authorities. I made beautiful beads that several people who visited Kirinya Prison loved. I used this opportunity to make beads on a commercial scale.” 
 
Nashaba used the sh17,500 he had come with to prison to buy raw materials to start the craft project. He purchased varnish, paper, strings, and glass beads. 
Prison regulations restrict prisoners from entering prison in possession of any currency. However, prison authorities are mandated to open up accounts for prisoners and permit them to make requisitions for items they require from the same accounts. 

Getting raw materials
Uganda Prisons publicist, Frank Baine, says the prisons department established a system of procurement to ensure that prisoners who can afford it can obtain the items they require. 
 
Today, Nashaba makes baskets, bracelets and wood carvings. He has also acquired skills for baking bread. He makes four baskets every month and says each basket costs sh10,000. He makes 40 beads a month and each bead is sold at sh1,300. Nashaba also makes one wood carving in two days and each goes for sh30,000. 
 
Nashaba would have made more carvings if he was allowed to own a drill in prison. However, due to security reasons, drilling equipment and jigsaws are not allowed in prison. He estimates his stock’s worth at sh3m and has managed to deposit sh2m on his prison’s savings account.   

Challenges
 “Previously, I did not know where to get the raw materials. Secondly, the capital was too little and having ventured into the business for the first time, we were not sure of the market for our products. I have been able to make savings and increase my capital. I have also managed to find market for my products, thanks to the prison authorities,” Nashaba recounts. 
 
Since the Uganda Prisons Service does not have an official workshop anymore, Nashaba works from his prison cell, which is inconveniencing given the space limitation. 
 
The prison does not have a show room where clients can go and buy these items which adversely affects sales.
 
Plans
Nashaba who expects to complete his sentence in 2014 would like to refurbish his run-down house in Mitoma district before he is released, so that he can settle down in a good house and continue making crafts.  
 
Currently, Nashaba’s works are available at Kirinya Prisons in Jinja. Alternatively, you can contact the Uganda Prisons authorities. 
 
Who buys Nashaba’s crafts?
Nashaba’s customers include personnel from non-government organisations working with prisons, religious leaders attached to prison ministries, prison staff and religious ministries from Canada, Australia, the US and Netherlands who happen to visit the prison. Currently, he has a customer from Netherlands who specifically buys paper bead necklaces and sends them to Europe. 
 
He also had a chance to exhibit at the National Agricultural show in Jinja show grounds recently.
During 21 years he has spent at Kirinya Prisons, Nashaba has acquired skills in computer management in addition and attended courses in leadership and religious studies. He has also been able to train other inmates in computer programming and crafts making. 
 
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Nashaba attends to a customer during this year’s agricultural show in Jinja 
 
Achievements
From the sale of his crafts, Nashaba has managed to take care of his personal needs as well as educate his 14-year-old daughter, who was born while he was in prison. She is in Senior One at Nyakibare Secondary School in Western Uganda. He pays over sh200,000 in school fees per term.
 
“I have cleared her school fees for this year,” Nashaba proudly says. 
In addition to meeting his daughter’s tuition, Nashaba looks after his relatives and has invested in a water melon growing project in Mitoma district. 
 

He might be in prison but Nashaba’s family lacks nothing

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