By Max Patrico Ocaido
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has ordered the minister of Internal Affairs to explain the circumstances under which prisoners in Kabermaido met a tragic death in a fatal road accident.
Last Wednesday, four inmates lost their lives and 39 others sustained severe injuries in a accident that occurred along Kaberamaido-Soroti road when a tipper lorry registration number UAD 017L lost control, hit a pavement and overturned at Lwala village, Kaberamaido Sub County. Reports indicate that the prisoners were going to provide private labour.
During plenary on Tuesday, Kabermaido Woman MP Goretti Ajilo Elogu said that whereas the prisons policy allows hire out of labour as part of rehabilitation and skilling of prisoners, transportation of these prisoners should be done in a dignified manner.
“These prisoners were transported in a tipper lorry and we know that tippers are not for human transport, but for materials. There were close to 60 people in the tipper and it was therefore overloaded and we are told that it was not in the best mechanical condition,” Ajilo said.
She added that it is unfortunate that there is one vehicle at the district’s prison office and the OC Prisons was on that day using a boda boda.
She added that even transporting the victims of the accident to the hospital was difficult considering that there is no single working ambulance in the district.
She also asked Internal Affairs ministry to explain what they are going to do for the families of those who lost their beloved ones and those who are ‘incarcerated’ in hospital nursing broken limbs.
Kapelebyong County MP Julius Ochen asked government to take care of the children of the deceased, citing failure to provide the necessary facilities to make the operations of the inmates free as they serve the sentences.
“Government should therefore take responsibility of the inmates who died and their children and government should brief this Parliament on the progress,” Ochen who is also shadow minister for Health said.
“We shall ask the minister for Internal Affairs to update us on this issue and give the way forward,” Speaker Kadaga said.
Following the same tragic incident, the head of Kaberamaido Government Prison Assistant Superintendent of Prison Lilly Aketch has reportedly been sent on forced leave.
In the directive signed by the Commissioner General of Uganda Prison service, Dr John Byabasaija, Aketch was ordered to stay out of office pending investigations into the cause of the accident.
Aketch is faulted for transporting inmates in tipper lorry in dangerous mechanical conditioned on top of violating Uganda Prison Service guidelines that prohibits the transportation of inmates on trucks while travelling for private activities outside the institution.