Ssenyonyi critical of gov't plan to convert Luzira Prison into hotel

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The contentious issue surfaced after letters surfaced on social media, revealing President Museveni's directive to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to facilitate negotiations with the Tian Tang Group.

KAMPALA | The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Joel Ssenyonyi, has voiced dissatisfaction over the government's proposal to lease the land of Luzira Maximum Prison to a Chinese investor for the construction of a five-star hotel.

The contentious issue surfaced after letters surfaced on social media, revealing President Museveni's directive to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to facilitate negotiations with the Tian Tang Group.

In the letter, President Museveni outlined the Chinese group's proposal to re-develop Luzira prison into a luxury hotel with a conference center, with the obligation to relocate the prison at their expense to another government-designated location.

Interior minister Kahinda Otafiire was tasked with initiating negotiations and identifying alternative land for the prison's relocation.

"The issue of land allocation has been costing the country in various ways," remarked Ssenyonyi.

While acknowledging the need to address prison overcrowding, Ssenyonyi stressed the importance of simultaneously expanding prison infrastructure to accommodate the growing inmate population.

Commenting about the matter on Monday, Prisons spokesperson Frank Baine said the matter is currently at ministerial level where discussions are still ongoing.

“This is a conversation going on between the president, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Attorney General," Baine said.

"For now it is still at ministerial level and Uganda Prisons is not yet part of it.”

Luzira Maximum Prison, established in 1927, currently holds over 7,700 inmates despite having a capacity for only 1,700.

Renowned for its stringent security standards, the facility serves as Uganda's sole Maximum Security Prison.

As debates surrounding the fate of Luzira prison continue, stakeholders await further developments on the government's proposed plans and their potential impact on the country's prison system and broader socio-economic landscape.

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