President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has exercised the powers given to him under Article 121 of the 1995 Constitution to pardon 833 prisoners around the country.
Speaking to reporters at the Uganda Media Centre on Monday, Frank Baine, the spokesperson of the Uganda Prisons Services, said the details of who is going to be released and what kind of sentences they have been serving will be communicated as of when they have worked them out.
Museveni’s move to pardon such a big number of prisoners is in line with the government’s efforts to decongest prisons which are said to be potential places for the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID -19).
A fortnight ago, Uganda Prisons had indicated that they had recommended to the Prerogative of Mercy committee headed by the Attorney General, the release of over 2000 prisoners on minor offenses who had served three-thirds of their sentences.
The constitution under article 121(4) says that: The President may, on the advice of the committee [Prerogative of Mercy Committee], grant to any person convicted of an offence a pardon either free or subject to lawful conditions; grant to a person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period, from the execution of a punishment imposed on him or her for an offence; substitute a less severe form of punishment for a punishment imposed on a person for an offence; or remit the whole or part of a punishment imposed on a person or of a penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to Government on account of any offence.
Meanwhile, as 883 are released, another 2,241 were taken in for principally disobeying the guidelines issued by the president on the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
Baine said of these 271 had already been convicted and sentenced.
“This is a very serious warning, please can you do everything possible and don’t add on my numbers. But if you think you don’t want to listen, we still have where to keep you. Disobey, and violate the guidelines at your own peril, “ said Baine.
Meanwhile, police spokesperson Fred Enanga revealed that in four days, they had arrested 1154 people in the Kampala Metropolitan area for violating the presidential directives.
Enanga said they are going to screen these people and those they find out to be repetitive offenders, they will be taken to court. “We shall continue enforcing these directives to ensure the mitigation of the spread of Covid-19,” added Enanga.