Uganda: the prison where murderers play for Manchester United

A decade ago, Opio Moses was a lowly policeman out in the sticks of Eastern Uganda with a complicated love life. He had fallen for the wrong woman. One day, her uncle, who was politically connected, came to pay Moses a visit at home. He told Moses at gunpoint that their match was unsuitable and that the relationship was now over. Moses also had a gun. Both men fired at each other. Moses was wounded and the uncle was left dead, shot in the chest. Moses then turned his gun on himself. These days, his greying hair is cropped short and barely conceals the long jagged scar where his own bullet split his scalp and skull.

Moses was sentenced to 20 years for murder. When he first arrived at Luzira Upper Prison, Uganda’s only maximumsecurity facility on the southern edge of Kampala, he was filled with despair. His days were bleak and purposeless. He was paralysed by remorse and did not know how he would serve out his term. But as the shock began to wear off, he realised Luzira was not like other prisons. The inmates could play football. And the football was not just kickabouts in the yard. There were formal clubs and tournaments, even fans. In 2006, Moses began to play as an accomplished striker with a prison team.

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