They want the court to declare that section 11 of the Public Health (Control of Covid) rules 2021 issued by the Ministry of Health indefinitely closing worship places and suspending activities such as prayers in open spaces and outside premises of churches and mosques contravenes several articles of the Constitution.
A section of religious leaders and opposition politicians have
petitioned the Constitutional Court over the continued closure of worship places.
In June President Museveni directed the closure of worship places to contain
the spread of covid-19. Last month, the President eased the lockdown but
directed that places of worship will remain closed for 60 days.
The petitioners include Michael Kiganda, the head of Glory to Glory
Born Again Ministries in Bugoloobi, Asuman Semakula Lule of Masjid Central in
Kitintale and Bishop Livingstone Mugabbi of the National Born Again Pentecostal
Churches in Nakawa are the religious leaders involved.
The others are the Deputy President of the National Unity
Platform-NUP Dr Lina Zedriga, the acting president of the Alliance for National
Transformation-ANT Alice Alaso and Nakawa East Member of Parliament Ronald
Balimwezo. Also lawyer and human rights activist Evelyn Naikoba is among the
They want the court to declare that section 11 of the Public Health (Control of
Covid) rules 2021 issued by the Ministry of Health indefinitely closing worship
places and suspending activities such as prayers in open spaces and outside
premises of churches and mosques contravenes several articles of the
Naikoba says that while the rules provide for the closure of
worship centers, it on the other hand allows premises and businesses to
operate. Naikoba says although there is a public health concern that would
warrant the suspension of some rights, the government has not justified why many
places, worship centres have been affected.
She says the government needs to issue guidelines that are in tandem
with the Constitution.
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Alaso described acts of government as an attempt to regulate people's spiritual
lives and outright discrimination against religious leaders and their subjects.
She says that the government has not provided any proof that worship centers
are high COVID- 19 spreaders.
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Dr Zedriga says that society has degenerated in character because
they no longer receive spiritual guidance offered in worship centers. She drew
an example of the killings happening in different parts of the country which
she says would perhaps not have happened if worship centres had been open to receiving
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Balimwezo says many people have been depressed by the covid-19
pandemic and can't access counselling services that were previously offered by
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Lule also says that government should open worship centers because,
through religious leaders, important messages can reach the masses. He wants the
government to issue guidelines on the number of people that a worship center
can accommodate during prayers.
Last month August, two religious leaders Peter Wisdom Katumba of
Charis Fellowship Limited and Imam Muhammad Bbaale of Taqwa Mosque in Kabowa
petitioned the High court seeking a permanent injunction restraining the government
and its agencies from enforcing the ban on the closure of worship centres.