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POLITICIANS, RELIGIOUS LEADERS DRAG GOVERNMENT TO COURT OVER CONTINUED CLOSURE OF PLACES OF WORSHIP
By Muhamadi Matovu | 09 September 2021 (originally posted on the Nile Post)
Following the partial easing of the lockdown in June by President Museveni after the total lockdown to curb the spread of the second wave of covid-19, some sectors were allowed to operate at 50 percent level while others are not yet operational including places of worship that were kept closed for more 60 days.
However, according to the religious leaders the move that was taken by the president denies the citizens their constitutional rights to freedom of worship, prompting many of them to run to courts of law demanding for the immediate reopening of these worship places.
As such a group of people comprising politicians, religious leaders and activists have dragged the government to Constitutional Court demanding for the reopening of places of worship.
The petitioners are: Kiganda Micheal, Evelyn Naikoba, Dr. Zedriga Lina, Alice Alaso, Ronald Baliwenzo Nsubuga, Semakula Asuman Lulue and Bishop Mugabi Livingstone.
They want court to issue a permanent order restraining government from further closure of places of worship.
Through their lawyers of Cymbell advocates, the petitioners accuse the government of being discriminative by refusing to re-open places of worship yet places like business centres which are more congested with people and less organized are operating which puts people at great risk of contracting Covid-19.
They state that the Constitution under article 21(I) further promotes equality and freedom from discrimination and prohibits any form of discrimination on the ground of sex ,race ,colour, ethics, origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing ,political opinion or disability
According to the petitioners, the government has a right to limit fundamental rights and freedom but it can only do so within the limits specified in the Article 43 of the constitution.
They note that the Constitution guarantees that every person shall have the right to freedom to practice any religion and manifest such practice which shall include the right to belong to and participate in the practices of any religious body or organisation in a manner consistent with the constitution.
They want court to quash the president that led to the indefinite closure and suspension of places of worship and their activities.
“Declare that rule 13 of the public health (Control of Covid-19 rules) 2021 S.I No 38 of 2021 which allows other premises and business other than places of worship to operate is inconsistent and contravenes Articles 20,21(I)(2) & (3) 29(1)(C),37,42 and 43 of the 1995 Constitution as amended,” they pray.
They want the court to declare that the decision by the government to allow other premises and businesses other than places of worship to operate are inconsistent and nit in line with the constitution.