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We live in a world where many are uncomfortable expressing unpopular opinions because of the adverse reactions this might draw from friends, family, or followers. For the most part, the odds are often stacked against persons that dare to air views which speak truth to power especially if such truths do not particularly tickle their fancy. Following the global outbreak of the coronavirus and first confirmed Covid-19 case in Uganda on 22nd March 2020.
In a zoom session titled “Protecting Freedom of Worship: Reflections on closure of places of worship during Covid-19” last evening, five panellists calling themselves defenders of religion, reasoned that the closure of places of worship amounts to infringement of the citizens’ rights to worship which is provided for in the Constitution. Many people don’t have access to television sets or internet to have and follow church online since that is the only way church is being conducted.
The World is abuzz with the debate about mass vaccination as reports have made the rounds for some time now concerning the integrity, authenticity and safety of vaccines that are being administered all over the world and particularly Africa. With all that is being unveiled about vaccination and the resulting negative effects on recipients (with evidence), one wonders why African Governments including ours have turned a deaf ear and religiously taken to the vaccination agenda.
The ongoing pandemic will be blamed for a lot of damage in the world for a long time to come. The responses have been ubiquitous and unnecessarily similar for most countries. Ground planes, close borders, shut up churches and schools then lockdown every living thing within four walls. So far, there seems to be unnecessary emphasis, reporting the litany of donations in what has turned out to be a pissing contest.
The Uganda Law Society (ULS) is the heartbeat of the legal profession in Uganda; charged with ensuring high level professionalism among lawyers. Its vision is to be a proficient Bar Association in fostering access to Justice, the Rule of Law and Good Governance in Uganda which can be achieved by promoting a unified voice within the profession, regulation of the legal profession, protection of the rule of law.
Another race, another case for the books, goes the face of the hunt for Uganda’s next speaker of parliament. What do we have to look forward to? An NRM caucus reminding Hon. Kadaga that her tab is up, that she should cede the stage to a different cadre? Will Kadaga remind her bosses of the spirited fight she put up during the NRM leadership polls which seemed to announce her political Waterloo, ever so mildly?
Due process refers to the legal requirement that the State must respect all legal rights of a person. It deals with administration of justice espousing the principle of legal fairness or fair treatment throughout government proceedings and the judicial system, especially a citizen’s entitlement to notice of a charge and a hearing before an impartial judge both in criminal and civil matters.
The recent reports by the New Vision on alleged massive criminal activity by top pastors are wanting, to say the least. For a country with a media that has been used as a pawn to desecrate the reputation of the born-again faith from time immemorial, such accounts should be taken with a pinch of salt by well-meaning individuals.
When disaster strikes, its consequences can be long to remedy or even linger on for months and years. The degree to which such effects increase inherent inequalities in life and society is to a significant extent premised on how governments and humanitarian actors integrate human rights into their disaster preparedness and response action plan. Uganda’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was discovered on 22nd March 2020.
Weeks ago, the news headlines stated that President Yoweri K. Museveni had declined signing the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Bill into law. In a letter written to the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca A. Kadaga, among other things, the President expressed his concern that the Bill fronts external interests from foreigners; whom he did not make mention of.
Google officially launched its first Africa Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab in Ghana and it is only a matter of time for the rest of the Continent to adopt this trend. But as Africa prepares to adopt and incorporate AI, which so far has been championed as the long silver bullet in addressing many of humanity’s issues and boosting civilization.
This matter of National Importance was raised in the 14th Sitting of the 1st Meeting of the 5th Session of the 10th Parliament by Kumi Woman MP Monica Amoding, who argued that churches play a pivotal and fundamental role in nurturing the society and people in terms of spiritual nourishment.
The Attorney General then tabled these Bills for the first reading before Parliament chaired by the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca A. Kadaga who subsequently forwarded the five Bills to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee; being the appropriate Committee to scrutinize, and report on the same to Parliament thereafter.
Current news of the imminent plans by the Governments of Uganda and Rwanda to adopt the use of microchip technology and creation of a national DNA database respectively — supposedly to enhance disease and crime prevention should draw the deepest concern among citizens of these and other countries on the African Continent.
Following the recent revision, Rwanda’s Penal code which previously stipulated that a woman had to obtain authorisation from a court of law if she wanted to undertake an abortion is now being ammended to provide that an abortion can be carried out after a doctor’s decision. Abortions are now permitted in cases of rape, incest and risk of maternal or infant mortality.
The last time Uganda had a national religious policy was in 1976 when President Idi Amin Dada ordered for the creation of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to reduce opposition and increase his chances of becoming a lifetime President.
The Nexus And Centrality Of Freedom Of Conscience, Belief And Religion To The Enjoyment Of Other Rights: A Litmus Test Of The Rfo Policy
Discharge Of Prophet Elvis Allan Mbonye’s Police Bond In Relation To The Charges Of Misleading Information On The National Vaccination Exercise: PRESS RELEASE
Statement On The Interrogation Of Prophet Elvis A. Mbonye Regarding Alleged Utterances Against Vaccination
Contrary to the rhetoric that the policy is meant to protect the public from fraudulent individuals hiding behind religious cloak while fleecing them of their money, the truth is that the policy is meant to curtail religious freedoms in the country.
During the weekend, an announcement made rounds on a number of social media platforms indicating that the President of the Republic of Uganda was scheduled to meet with Pentecostal leaders at the Cricket Oval Grounds on Monday, 23rd September 2019 at 8:00am.
A fast rising consultancy on the legal scene, Crownel Co. Ltd has organized an inaugural international webinar on religious freedoms during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Organisation took to its social media accounts last week and released a flyer indicating a pool of panelists who are lawyers from not only across Africa, but also the United Kingdom and USA.
The proponents of the policy purport to be helping the government determine acceptable ways of worship across the different religions, and protect the citizens from potential cults.
But the opponents of the policy argue that it is a-good-for-nothing ploy designed to perpetuate the kind of religious oppression and suppression last witnessed in Uganda in the 1970s. At the peak of the public outcry against the proposed policy by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU).
Following the full-blown spread of COVID-19 early this year several governments imposed measures to curb the virus — the most common being general shutting down of economies, commonly referred to as lockdown.In Uganda the lockdown was imposed on March 18, resulting in the suspension of all public and religious gatherings.
The Computer Misuse Act of Uganda was enacted to make provision for the safety and security of electronic transactions and information systems, to prevent unlawful access, abuse or misuse of information systems.
Even when you look at the penal code Act, the Section that talks about disturbance of the person of the President honestly talks about annoying and ridiculing by way of Acts, harm him or enticing people to strike which does not fall within the ambit of electronic use.
Some of the provisions of this policy require one to first obtain a license before doing the work of God. Contrary to Bible principles, individuals will also be evaluated on the basis of their past deeds before they can be regarded as fit and proper.
On the 30th of January 2019, a Bill was tabled before Parliament by MP. John Baptist Nambeshe. It was however met with resistance for all the right reasons; spiritual matters cannot be regulated by law, Uganda is a secular country, and we have enough Penal laws to deal with “wrong” characters. The attempt failed miserably.
Ugandans have for years now, witnessed the making of ‘donations’ comprising billions of shillings packaged in brown envelopes or promises of the same by the Head of State or top public officials representing the Fountain of Honour at various functions.
The Policy has been largely premised on Article 43 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution which permits for limitations on derogable rights such as the Right to Religious Freedom enshrined under Article 29, on the basis of public interest and infringement of the rights of others.
Today, some still believe in instituting religious monopolies by requiring all religious leaders to undertake a State-licensed theology training; apparently to prevent what they call “false” bible teachings and immoral behaviour among religious leaders.
Over the past few months, the Church in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda has been at the centre of discussions on the need for regulation. It is only a matter of time before the remaining East African nations pick up the momentum. The question however, is – Is the proposed regulation of the church the best way forward to address the concerns raised?
A policy has to be put in place to back up the necessity for a law which therefore means that this RFBO Policy was drafted with intent to lay the foundation for the Religious Societies and Places of Worship Bill (2017) which is due to be tabled before Parliament again.
The police officials further asserted that for capital offences, it might be practically impossible to complete extensive investigations within the 48 hour mark. Be that as it may, notwithstanding that the proposition by the Police was declined, if one was to consider the reasons for their initial request that this 48 hour period be extended.
The habitual and indiscriminate invocation of Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act by the State as a response to open opinion and expression poses a dire threat to enjoyment of the freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
The Uganda Law Society has also condemned the acts surrounding the illegal detention of the Watchman, Joseph Kabuleta, between the 12th to the 16th of July by the Uganda Police, and the denial of access to his lawyers and wife.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame broke his silence on tension between his country and Uganda and blamed elements in South Africa for misinforming authorities in Kampala for private gain. The Rwandan Foreign Affairs State Minister, Olivier Nduhungirehe also accused Uganda of criminalizing Rwandans walking and working in Uganda.
In his capacity as Kabuleta’s legal assistant, Godwin did everything right that is required of him in his profession. This is the very reason he was arrested. What does this imply for the legal fraternity in Uganda? With the on-going narrowing of the civic space, aside from the journalists, could the legal profession also be under attack?
On the evening of 12th July 2019 at about 5:50pm, the Watchman – Joseph Kabuleta while at Drew and Jacs Patisserie at Forest Mall Lugogo was arrested and taken by security operatives driving a Toyota Wish under registration plate no. UBB 459D; shortly before he headed out to his weekly fellowship.
The Looming Political Standstill Between Uganda And Rwanda Is A Ticking Bomb For The East African Community (Eac) And The Great Lakes Region As A Whole.
On Wednesday, 27th February 2019, Rwandan Authorities blocked trucks from accessing the country via the Katuna border to pave way for contruction works on the road. Rwanda’s decision to stop cargo trucks and people from using the Katuna-Gatuna border post will escalate many troubles between the two countries.
It would be wrong to imagine that the torture, killing or disappearing of detainees might be a relatively new phenomenon in Uganda, but rather offers irrefutable evidence of the continuation of a decades-old tried and trusted state method of dealing with real and imagined dissent, which long predates the current conflict and indeed the current regime.
What does this mean for rule of law narrative in Uganda and the strength of non-derogable human rights enshrined in Article 44 of the Constitution?
Moses has been held incommunicado since the 22nd of December 2018. According to this Court order, he should have been released or arraigned latest 01st March 2019.
PROTECTING FREEDOM OF WORSHIP: REFLECTIONS ON CLOSURE OF PLACES OF WORSHIP DURING COVID-19
COVID -19 FAITH COMMUNITY GUIDELINES: A GLOBAL CRACKDOWN ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS?
REFLECTIONS ON UGANDA’S EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
COMPUTER MISUSE ACT; A THREAT TO ONLINE FREEDOMS!
THE FUTURE OF THE NURSING PROFESSION AND HEALTH CARE
LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE OPRESSIVE RELIGIOUS FAITH ORGANISATIONS POLICY
THE LOCKDOWN REGULATIONS: WHAT ABOUT THE FAITH COMMUNITY?
DRAWING THE LINE FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS