Government has finally named lawyers as essential workers and they can now travel around as they go about their work during lockdown.
The revelation was made by the president of Uganda Law Society (ULS) Pheona Wall Nabaasa on Wednesday.
“We are glad they have opened up. I hope this time, unlike the last (previous lockdown), prisoners will be given access to their advocates so that court rulings can have meaning. We are now working out modalities with the Ministry of Works and Transport,” she said.
The government’s clearance follows lawyers petition to the Attorney General requesting to be included among the essential workers.
During his address, in which he announced a countrywide lockdown, President Yoweri Museveni announced a list of categories of people to be exempt from some lockdown restrictions such as travelling using private transport.
However, advocates were not among them, a matter which prompted members of ULS to petitioned government. In their petition using lawyers from Wameli and Company Advocates, they said that making lawyers essential workers would help them continue offering services to people in critical need of legal services in the country during the lockdown.
They urged the Attorney General to use his powers as the ‘head of the bar’ to cause lawyers to be declared as essential workers.
“It is, therefore, our humble prayer that you use your good office to have advocates recognized as essential workers to enable their movement during the lockdown on the execution of their professional duties,” read the petition.
They contended that courts cannot continue to operate while lawyers are not allowed to work. “It was bound to deny many Ugandans legal representations, which could affect access to justice.”
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