The committee on Defence and Internal Affairs will carry out an audit on all detention centres and police stations to ascertain the state of sanitation facilities.
The directive by the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga followed an outcry from legislators that detention centres like police stations were still using the bucket system yet government had promised to phase it out.
“I want the committee on Defence and Internal Affairs to carry out an audit of all sanitary facilities in places of detention; police stations and prisons,” Kadaga said.
The Speaker called on the Committee to consider the conditions in these detention centres as they processed the budget for the next financial year adding that, ‘find out specifically what provisions have been done in this financial year’.
The bucket system is where persons in detention use a bucket to ease themselves in place of a waterborne toilet or pit latrine.
Rukungiri District Woman MP, Hon Betty Muzanira said there was need to cater for the welfare of women inmates and suspects in police cells.
She added that most police cells do not have provisions for women suspects adding that most of them are detained in unipots.
“These unipots do not have latrine and ventilators, so inmates are using buckets,” said Muzanira.
She prayed that government interests itself in the state of sanitation in detention places not only for inmates but also officers, saying the risk of hygiene related outbreaks is high.
Arua Municipality MP, Hon Kassiano Wadri recounted his experience in detention saying that the bucket system is in many detention centres attributing the practice to congestion.
“Let no minister come here to deceive us that the bucket system is no more. In some cells, you can be made to spend 12 hours without getting an opportunity to urinate. You literally urinate on the same floor you are sleeping on,” Kassiano Wadri said.
The Kampala Central MP, Hon Muhammad Nsereko was concerned about the congestion in the police barracks around Kampala saying that some have over 650 officers with their families.
“There is only one toilet for the police barracks, two shower areas for ladies and two shower areas for men, so people have to cue up for showering from 4.00am, ” Nsereko said adding that, “If these urban police stations cannot have such facilities then you can imagine what is in Arua”.
Workers MP, Hon Margaret Rwabusheija said the situation has escalated into violence among workers in police and prisons with some killing each other over the scarce resources.
“Because they are overcrowded, you can find two families with children and spouses in one unipot; when one goes to work, the colleague takes advantage of his wife and as a result they have been killing one another” said Rwabusheija.
The Speaker also directed the Minister for Internal Affairs to respond to some of the issues raised as the committee carries on with the audit.