Uganda Prisons Service Addresses Controversy Surrounding Luzira Maximum Prison Relocation Plans

The Uganda Prisons Service has addressed the ongoing discussions regarding the proposed relocation of Luzira Maximum Prison to make way for a five-star hotel, breaking its silence on the matter. According to Frank Baine, the Prisons spokesperson, the issue is currently being discussed at the ministerial level, involving the President, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Attorney General. Baine emphasized that Uganda Prisons is not directly involved in these discussions at this stage.

In a letter dated July 2022, President Museveni expressed support for the idea of granting the land currently occupied by Luzira Prison to Tian Tang Group, a Chinese investor, for the construction of a luxury hotel. Minister Otafiire subsequently initiated negotiations with Tian Tang to proceed with the plan.

In a recent follow-up letter dated February 22, 2024, Minister Otafiire requested a consultative meeting on March 6 to discuss the matter further. He mentioned that the Uganda Prisons Service has identified land in Buikwe District for the relocation, with plans to purchase a portion of it. However, legal complications related to the ownership of the land have arisen, as the family of the late Antonio Lutwama Kabogoza, the original landowner, has not obtained letters of administration since his passing in 1928. Despite this, they have agreed to sell their interest in the land for the prison’s relocation.

Baine reiterated that while the issue of relocating the prison, which was established in 1927, has been ongoing since 2013, the Prisons Service cannot provide further details at this time. He directed inquiries to the Attorney General, Minister of Internal Affairs, or the Office of the President for more information, emphasizing that he is unable to comment or provide interviews on the matter until it progresses beyond the ministerial level.