Politicians, religious leaders and activists have dragged government to Constitutional Court demanding for the reopening of places of worship.
On 18th June, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni imposed a second total lockdown of 42 days to curb the spread of the second wave of covid-19. After 42 days, some sectors such as public transport were allowed to operate at 50 percent level;business centres were also allowed to reopen but places of worship were kept closed for more 60 days.
In a 31 August petition, the applicants accuse 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.
Through their lawyers of Cymbell advocates, the applicants want Constitutional Court to declare that the impugned actions of the President in issuing presidential directives that lead to the indefinite closure and suspension of places of worship and their activities among them prayers in open spaces, outside premises of churches and mosques while allowing other premises and businesses other than places of worship to operate are inconsistent and contravene articles 20, 21(1)(2) and(3) 29(1)(c) 37, 42, 43 and 99 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 as amended.
They also want government to respect, uphold and promote the rights and freedom of individuals and groups enshrined in chapter four of the constitution by reopening places of worship as soon as possible.
Addressing journalists at Hotel Triangle in Kampala on Wednesday, Alice Alaso, the Deputy National Coordinator for Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) said Uganda is a God fearing country but the current managers seem to have forgotten about it and thats why they are acting cynically.
“We demand the re-opening of places of worship immediately because this is our constitutional right. What I have seen now, there is a total discriminative agenda by the leaders of this country how can one open Kikuubo, and other business places and keep places of worship closed?” Alaso wondered.
“Religious leaders don’t want your payments, it’s even blasphemous. We only need you to open places of worship, religious leaders don’t want your money. The agenda of the managers of this country to close churches where people run for help and schools is a deliberate move to kill the next generation.”
The National Unity Platfrom (NUP) deputy president Lina Zedriga added that closing places of worship and allowing other over congested places to operate is a sign that the current leadership is no longer interested in Godly guidance.
“Closing churches means we have closed God outside which is more dangerous. Other countries which had many cases than Uganda already opened churches and schools but in Uganda, our leaders see covid-19 as a business that must not end. Places of worship are very easy to control because the congregations respect their leaders. I don’t see what our ministers and the President fear.”
Sheikh Asuman Lule,the Imam of Nakawa market Masjid Noor Mosque said,” It is very evil to compare places of worship with bar. This country is standing on pillars of prayers from believers but if a leader comes out and starts looking at places of worship in the same class as bars, that is a clear example that our country’s managers need to revise their policies. ”
Other petitioner include:Nakawa East constituency Member of Parliament Ronald Balimwezo, lead Pastor of Glory to Glory Ministries Kiganda Micheal, Evelyne Naikoba a lawyer,and Bishop Mugabbi Livingstone from the National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecost churches Nakawa district.
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