MY PRISON STORY: The Run Away Oyam CAO, CFO Are Sentenced & Join Me in Ward D3
By Markson Omagor
It is 10:00am this bright Sunday sunny morning and the bell for mid-morning lock up has just been rang. And am thinking it is the 29th of April and the next day will be the 30th and end of the month and am thinking, yes it will get over.
June shall surely come just the same way May had come. Then I tell myself, I will overcome! And my friend tells me, it will get over, day by day we go through our sentences and day by day, we move forward towards our freedom –sweat freedom. Then my face glows with happiness and joy nurtured by hope. Home I am coming. They are lying because I will overcome.
Immediately after Lock up, I noticed a new arrival, he was a product of the Anti-corruption court. Like me, he chose the ordinary prison life style of living together with other common prisoners. He was a six footish Muganda man, his weight seemingly shaved by years of legal torment. There were signs about him that his skeleton knew of a heavier burden and his palms used to counting wards of money.
But now inside Ward D3, the Police Officer or an ex officer to be precise is just like any other common thing to an unpiercing eye. And he lives the part; quiet, unbossing, using the Luganda language and basically keeping to himself. He even slept in the common wing of Muyenga freely mixing with the lowest of the low in prison, his two other colleagues having chosen the Sheraton where Twenty Five Shillings (25,000/=) is paid every week for accommodation and meals.
They were arrested in 2003 on corruption related charges and interdicted. Since then, they had been on bail till they were convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment without the option of a fine. They were now only three weeks into their sentence.
A week after their sentence another duo was convicted. This was the Oyam District duo including the C.A.O and his C.F.O. This group had about six months ago appeared before judge Muganda and pleaded guilty. The judge then thinking the due law a biding citizens extended their bail to the week next when he would pass his judgement.
This apparently is when the temptation came in. The duo disappeared into the air they thought was thin. Well, how they were arrested and brought back to prison is already well documented. What we later learnt is that the duo actually managed to pay back the One Hundred Twenty Million (120m) they had been accused of misappropriating. When on 19th of April they appeared before the same judge for judgement, they were hopeful since the money was after all recovered.
The judge thought otherwise and sentenced them to four years without the option of a fine. So they too, are here just two weeks into their four years prison term and am on the my forth month of the ultimate eight month sentence. That is prison for you, always one the better and the other the worse. A disturbing but comforting equilibrium that keeps hopes alive, prisons full and life in a lifeless environment deceptively normal.
That Sunday evening was not only a celebration of end of week but end of month as well. There was therefore a group of musicians lining up to sing for members in the evening after the Moslem Swallah. The celebrations kicked off with our Kandongokamu guitarists warming up the floor for Solo singers. Amongst the new songs that touched my feelings was one sang by Kiwa.
It was a slow melodious song taking us through his own prison experience. It was a song directed to somebody he relied on for help. It talked of the lice that welcomed him to Luzira, the cold floor that became his home to the destruction of hope when the presiding magistrate remanded him for ten months. He sang in a mournful voice, about how he sent out messages for help but none came his way. Towards conclusion, he mentions this name – a name of a prisoner who came to his rescue and he said he wishes him all the blessings because he remembered him in his time of need. In conclusion, he advised friends and relatives to visit prisoners, because it is while in prison that they need them most. This somber performance was then followed by Karaoke of a diverse nature.
While we clapped and applauded our musicians, just a block way another event of an opposing nature was unfolding.