The horrors within Rwanda's Gitarama Central prison's walls

Prison Conditions In Rwanda Prison conditions in Rwanda

Tue, 6 Dec 2022 Source: Joel Savage

A million people were ruthlessly murdered in Rwanda over three months starting on April 7, 1994. This happened in a fairly limited area but a generation later, Rwanda is one of Africa's most peaceful and thriving nations. As the government makes great efforts to ensure Rwanda's sustained development, Paul Kagame is the topic of conversation everywhere.

However, there are other issues in the nation that have led many people across the world to conclude that President Paul Kagame is not who he claims to be, particularly when it comes to the appalling circumstances at the main Gitarama Central Prison. The building, which was built to house 1300 inmates, is currently a packed jail with more than 8,000 inmates.

Robbers, rapists, murderers, and other violent criminals are housed in the Gitarama High-Security Prison. They have little to lose as many are already serving life sentences and perhaps multiple ones. Thus; they do bad things to acquire respect in jail or escape to freedom by creating conditions of heightened severity for them.

Gitarama is a location that no one ever leaves, that's what they say in Rwanda and you'll believe it if you consider the jail circumstances. Gitarama prison, which is close to the same-named city, is a tiny facility but due to its overcrowded condition, it's difficult to envision how people incarcerated in this prison yard survive.

People are required to sleep in close quarters on the ground or crouching, but to do so, you must wait for your turn. The prison's single cells are meter-by-meter in size and devoid of a ceiling. According to the publication I read recently, Gitarama doesn't even have a sewer system, so convicts must walk through their waste and battle swarms of mosquitoes every day. In the depths of the prison that they are in charge of, the warders show little interest.

Furthermore, it is dangerous to carry a weapon around the Guitarama since organized crime groups are free to commit grave crimes against those they disagree with. They said that some of the detainees turned to cannibalism among themselves as a result of their constant hunger. If it was possible to learn more about this, I would have done that.

Gitarama prison offers no medical care at all, and inside its walls, ailments take lives daily. The government of the nation is doing little to improve the situation, and since the coup that shook Rwanda in the 1990s of the twenty-first century, things have only become worse.

Paul Kagame's journey since the massacre hasn't been simple. Although he has done much for the nation, he must also make an effort to understand the prisoners' predicament to change the appalling conditions.

Columnist: Joel Savage