Well, now the Constitutional Court came today with a striking judgment. That the Section 8 of the Public Order Management Act of 2013 is unconstitutional. Section 8 of the POMA is very clear. That gives the powers to officers and give the police the authority to block any meeting. It also gives the powers to the Police to disperse a meeting. Also, finally the sub-section also issues the officers in question the powers to assess if a person is disobeying the law or unlawfully assembles. Which makes that person liable for sentencing according to the Penal Code section 117.
Therefore, today’s judgment is vital, as the Police Force by definition now doesn’t have the authority to block any gathering. Neither disperse it or issue an order to stop the public from participate in any public meeting/gathering. This here is an direct consequence of the judgment today.
We knew this law was draconian. The whole law isn’t null and void, just one part of it, but it takes away the powers to enforce it. The Police Force, the authorities is limited by this. This law has banned concerts, public gatherings, consultation meetings, anniversary rallies, opening of political party offices and so fourth. The state has given all sorts of orders and usage of the law to an extent, where the opposition is futile. They couldn’t conduct either internal party organizations nor actually try to gain new followers, since the state stopped it or never allowed them to publicly to gather in the first place.
This law was deemed the Anti-Besigye Act, ABA, the act against Besigye and his political effort to undermine the regime. This came after the Walk to Work. Now, the opposition has one an important battle in the Courts.
There was on judge who didn’t see it like this, that was Stephen Musota. Remember that man, because he stated this, he was the one voting in favour of Section 8 of POMA. Because, there was 4-1 and therefore, it was null and void. However, Stephen stated this: “The limits are now cast in stone and are no longer at the whims or imagination of the Inspector General of Police or his authorized officers”. That is why the whims of the IGP shouldn’t be the factor to allow people to assemble or not. This is why its unconstitutional, which is stated by the other judges on this matter.
What I am suspecting will happen is that the National Resistance Movement will revise and amend this bill. To ensure they have the powers to stop meetings and such before the General Elections 2021. They have had the good need of this bill for years. This will not go away without a blast. I don’t believe the NRM will concede and give way that easily. Not when the rise of Bobi Wine and Besigye is now allowed and cannot be stopped. That is what the NRM worried about and will find new ways to silence it. Especially, when the Police Force has been preoccupied with this partisan politicking for years. Peace.
Now, the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Acheng has put forward a text, which prescribe certain facts. Also, new measures, which should be given and made public. As this put a pre-text for how people need to revolve their lives and also what is at stake here. The implementation of it is important too. Not only making a fancy law.
This law makes it perfectly legal for medical officers to enter any premises in the Republic. They could so in search of COVID-19, as long as they have written instructions to do so.
What the President ordered of public gatherings is now put in print. This closing schools and institutions until 18th April 2020. Closing bars, cinema halls, churches, mosques, concerts, sports events and open air prayers until 16th April 2020. Marriage, weddings, vigils, funerals public meetings, including political rallies, conferences and cultural related meetings, until 18th April 2020. Also trading of live animals in designated areas for such by the local authority until 18th April 2020.
All of that is important. As this put in clear text and by law, what is legal sand such. Now, spitting in the public is illegal, near any public building or where the public has access. However, the law has no sanctions if they initially does so.
However, if you escape form the quarantine for COVID-19 or aides/facilitate a person to escape. This law clearly put in some jurisdiction and also legal basis for health care personnel.
Also, sets the boundaries for a “carrier” of COVID-19, who needs to notify the medical officers and what information the person has to give. Clearly, to able to track the spread and try to control it.
What we are not seeing is what more extension of the health care system, neither planned funds to up the ante. There are so many faulty things. This at least is a pick of a leaf from the Minister of Health Acheng and the Ministry of Health. That is positive, but not only a figment of hope. That is, if the state follows it up and make it possible for the Medical Officers to do so. Peace.
Yesterday, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni held his fourth national address. Instead of actually putting in legal measures for the state. Instead of building packages of funds for the Ministry of Health or any other part of the economy. He instead told about needed changes in action from the citizens.
The President could have started in investing in water-security for all parts of the country. So, that the people can actually wash their hand in clean water. This has been done by municipalities and the National Water & Sewage Company (NWSC). Also, been done by NGOs and Multi-National Organization who has provided this to the grander public. Even in elections, the President is always proud of opening wells in Northern Uganda. Maybe, time to secure more safe zones for this and swiftly?
It’s kind of hard to be sanitary if the public is lacking toilets and steady washing, so they can actually do what everyone asks for them to do. The same with the steady black-outs of electricity. The UMEME could ensure that most people whose connected stay with the electricity for the moment. Stop the loadshedding and pain this does.
There already been questions to why the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) haven’t been paying out partial payouts to their members. This is yet another proof, that there is a dire need of legislation. Where the MPs and others connect and find ways to adapt and secure the citizens their needs.
They need to set-up structures, funds and legislation, which will cover the basis. Where the public is safeguarded and has regulations, to follow guidelines and righteous in this trying times. Instead, the speeches and national addresses are just micro-managing without any considerable actions made. There is no relief telling people to use bikes. Like that solves the underlying issues of the state?
Yes, the one-meter rule is a fine proposal, but as long as the Taxi Park is running, as long as the markets are open and people do their normal bidding. The citizens and grander public will be exposed to the disease, whether they like it or not. That is why there is viral clips of people falling in the streets and left behind. These ordinary people who cannot afford or not have the ability to get treatment. Just left behind, because the state cannot support them or have the capacity to help them.
That is why these national addresses is useless. There is no intent, no direct real actions to help people. It is just lectures and pressers. The President should do more than talk. Talking isn’t solving this. The COVID-19 or Coronavirus isn’t beaten by shadow-matches, but by clear direct actions of isolation and protection of each individual citizen. Which by the state of affairs isn’t made. There are some measures, but they are not digging deep.
If the President wants to be serious. He shows up in Parliament with legislation and with care-package for the parts of government, business and health care, which needs dire help and FAST. There is no time to loose, but by every minute, the President is loosing someone. He should care, he should act, but seemingly he prefers the TV camera over direct action. This cannot be solved by using the UPDF or sending the Special Force Command to burn down a house. What is needed here is a big change and it cost.
We just wonder, if he got it in him or not. Peace.
“Someone please call 911, yeah yeah (pick up the phone yo)
Tell them I just got shot down, tell them I just got shot down
And it’s piercin’ through my soul (I’m losin blood yo)
Feel my body gettin’ cold, oh, so cold
Someone please call 911 (can you do that for me)” – Wyclef Jean ft Mary J. Blige – ‘911’ , April 2000
In an election year in the Republic, the economy usually runs loose. The State House lacks suddenly funds, the President needs more and so fourth. That is standard procedure. However, on the 19th March 2020 Matia Kasaija has now announced that the plans to borrow USD 190 million to cover a short-fall of funds, because of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus.
This is deemed fit because of the pandemic and the financial disruption it has. Not that the Republic is alone in this. Other big states and plenty in the Western hemisphere is putting up packages of economic stimulus to salvage the economy because of it. So, the sentiment is understandable. However, the Ugandan republic is already heavily indebted and every single development project of late is covered by debts and debt relief. Not like its sustainable to take up nearly USD 200 million to suddenly boost a dying economy.
Here’s the quotes:
“The low activity in industry and services sectors will result into loss of jobs further leading to a decline in economic growth and an increase in the level of poverty. The number of people that could be pushed into poverty is estimated at approximately 780, 000” (STATEMENT ON THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COVID.19 ON UGANDA,, 19.03.2020).
“To deal with the financing gap in the Government budgets for FY 2019/20 and FY 2020/21, my Ministry will seek for a budget support loan on concessional terms worth US$ 100 million for FY2019/20 and US$ 90 million for FY202021 from the World Bank” (STATEMENT ON THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COVID.19 ON UGANDA,, 19.03.2020).
It’s seems like they have the perfect cover for rising debt. They need to do something, because lots of industries are shut-down or silenced by the lack of tourism and foreign exchange. Also, the diaspora is hit and can therefore, not remit enough funds to boost the economy either.
The MoFPED really want to stain the economy more. To quote the IMF:
““Rising debt puts more strain on the budget as more resources need to be allocated for interest payments. One shilling paid for debt service is one shilling less going to a school or a health clinic. The current ratio of interest payments to revenue is comparable to what countries with high risk or in debt distress typically face” (IMF – ‘Uganda’s Economic Outlook in Six Charts’ 09.05.2019).
By borrowing close to USD 200 million is really pushing the envelope. As the interests needs to be served, the grace period might be short, as the state of finances across the board is souring. Therefore, the state will not get to favourable terms with this. The World Bank also has all other states begging for funds and possible grants to push the set-back of the pandemic. Not like Uganda is the only one crying out loud and applying for money.
This money will not be free money, but tainted money. This sort of funds is needed, because the state wasn’t planned nor had the capacity to have a rainy-day fund. The Petroleum Fund has already been raided and therefore, couldn’t come in handy now. This is the mismanagement, your already in a negative spiral with more and more loans. This is just adding two more and they are big. That will cost in the long run. It might salvage today and tomorrow. However, it will scar the next generation. Unless, someone is forgiving like these entities was in the early 1990s. Before the state again took up huge loans to cover deficits.
This is just the way it is now. Not a good look. Understandable in the growing crisis. However, that shouldn’t undercut the possible pain it will bring in the future. Save the day, but cause more harm tomorrow. Peace.