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Luzira Prison relocation confirmed

Luzira Prison relocation confirmed

A five star hotel proposed to replace Luzira Prison (Courtesy photo)

In a bold move that has ignited both controversy and economic speculation, the Uganda Prisons Service has announced plans to relocate the historic Luzira Maximum Prison, potentially making way for a five-star hotel development. This development comes amid ongoing discussions at the ministerial level and a nod of approval from President Museveni himself.

According to Frank Baine, the spokesperson for the Prisons Service, discussions are still underway between key stakeholders including the President, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Attorney General. While the Prisons Service is not directly involved in these talks, the matter has garnered attention since President Museveni expressed support for the idea in a July 2022 letter to the Minister of Internal Affairs.

In this letter, President Museveni endorsed the proposal to grant the land currently occupied by Luzira Prison to a Chinese investor, Tian Tang Group, for the construction of a luxury hotel.

The directive was accompanied by instructions to Minister Otafiire to initiate negotiations with Tian Tang Group to execute the plan.

In a subsequent communication dated February 22, 2024, Minister Otafiire called for a consultative meeting to further discuss the matter, highlighting the potential relocation site in Buikwe District. The proposed site spans 3.5 square miles, with 1 square mile earmarked for purchase by the Uganda Prisons Service. However, complications arise due to legal issues surrounding the land ownership dating back to the 1920s.

The family of the late Antonio Lutwama Kabogoza, who owns the land in question, has reportedly agreed to sell their interest to the Uganda Prisons Service. Nevertheless, legal hurdles stemming from the lack of formal documentation since the passing of Antonio Lutwama Kabogoza in 1928 have complicated the process. Despite these challenges, Minister Otafiire remains optimistic about the feasibility of the relocation plan.

Responding to inquiries, Prisons spokesperson Frank Baine emphasized that while the issue has been ongoing since 2013, it remains a matter under ministerial purview. He directed further queries to the offices of the Attorney General, Ministry of Internal Affairs, or the President’s office.

The potential relocation of Luzira Maximum Prison has sparked debate on multiple fronts. While proponents see it as an opportunity for economic development and investment, critics raise concerns about the historical and social significance of Luzira Prison

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