Part II: What it means to have your parent on death row

Nile Post News

‘Love your parents and treat them with care. For you will only know their value when you see their empty chair,’ one man anonymously quoted.
While many of us have our parents to our disposal, that we could even be chocked by their ever presence, a group of children have just hours each year to get the feeling of what it means to have a parent, some have been born in their parents’ absence and their few hours’ annual meeting is wasted on introducing each other.
The life of having your parents very close to you, but indeed so far away. The life of having a timer on access to your parents, living in a very populated world but yet so empty.
Children of prisoners on death row and those serving long jail term sentences shared with Nile Post’s Nelson Bwire Kapo and Irene Namajja.


Government lends them their own parents for just hours, every year

…..So now with Resty facing Irene, we were still wondering how not to repeat the mistake we made with Brenda and cause Resty shed tears, So we are still planing on how to begin. Alas, Resty starts her story.

“I am 15 years old, I came to Wells of Hope in 2017, before that, I was in the village and our grandmother was taking care of us, but our elder brother was helping her fend,” she started.

Resty wanted this finished in minutes, she was speaking while holding the socket of her tears, it looked like anytime, the nimbus cloud in her eyes would open and tears would rain, so she went fast but cautiously.
Resty is the last born of three children, she says her sister joined wells of hope with her after their elder brother failed to put up with their costs for he is only a peasant.

Resty was hit by double tragedy while still a toddler, her father died and on the same day, her mother was arrested and just like Brenda she was left at the mercy of her grandmother and teenage brother, both practicing subsistence farming.

“My father died, and on the same day, my mother was arrested, we went to be with our grandmother, but she could not take us to school, so our brother started helping until he felt over stretched and also abandoned us, after some time we were recommended here (wells of hope) with my sister,” Resty said.

We had so many questions at this point, but were stuck between inciting her to cry or find out if she actually knew what had happened. It soon dawned on us that she was so young to understand what had happened, let alone conceive it if it became known to her.

She sounded as innocent as any other, as carefree of the situations surrounding her as a baby still in womb, for it was clear to all of us, that indeed, the cause of the death of her father, could have been in the answer of the arrest of her mother.

On this very topic, she would later return saying she has visited her mother in prison a number of times, but they have not discussed the matter for fear of each others’ reaction.

“I have not asked my mother why she is in prison, sometimes I want to ask her but she will feel bad about it. I have met her and wanted to tell her how life is now, how we have suffered in her absence, but when I reach where she is, I notice she cannot handle her own situation, telling her about me would break her,” she says with a strange sense of maturity.

At this time, we are wondering how Resty is reasoning like an adult, and Nelson specifically wants to stop and ask what questions exactly Resty could have stored for this mother-daughter probe, as of she reads our minds she continues.

“I do not want to ask her (mother)anything, because if I do, she may think I do not like her. She has not told me when she will leave prison and I have left it that way,” she continues.

But amidst all this suffering, there is one thing that hurts Resty to the bone- the community back at their home and their relatives have rejected her and her siblings, they call her the daughter of a murderer.

“My aunty specifically told me that I should also be killed. I don’t like going home and I wish I would avoid it, only that it has my relatives,” she says and looks at us to find out our reaction.

It would be unwise to continue with the interview and we are thinking of not making anything worse for her, for we notice she is starting to get overly emotional, but she cuts us short…”I would like to tell my mother that I love her so much and I take the conversations we have had with her seriously, If she has the access to this interview, she should know, I love her so much and I pray she is forgiven one day so she returns and looks after us.”

And that was it…she gathered her self from the seat and went to join Brenda where she had been seated, they held hands walked back to class like they had just won a war, we were now onto our last child- Joseph, very calm and kept smiling all through, we could not wait..

Joseph’s story will be published on Saturday 31 March.

In case you want to help : Call 041 4661923 or email:

  • 635