Following President Museveni’s partial lifting of the lockdown in June, following the total lockdown to combat the spread of the second wave of covid-19, some sectors were permitted to work at 50% capacity, while others, such as houses of worship, were remained closed for more than 60 days.
However, religious groups claim that the president’s action violates citizens’ constitutional rights to freedom of worship, forcing several of them to file lawsuits demanding the reopening of these places of worship immediately.
As a result, a collection of lawmakers, religious leaders, and activists have taken the government to the Constitutional Court, demanding that places of worship be reopened.
Kiganda Micheal, Evelyn Naikoba, Dr. Zedriga Lina, Alice Alaso, Ronald Baliwenzo Nsubuga, Semakula Asuman Lulue, and Bishop Mugabi Livingstone are among those who have signed the petition.
They want a permanent order from the court prohibiting the government from closing any more places of worship.
The petitioners, through their lawyers at Cymbell Advocates, accuse the government of being discriminatory by refusing to reopen places of worship while locations like business centers, which are more crowded and less organized, are open, putting people at danger of getting diseases. Covid-19.
They claim that Article 21(I) of the Constitution promotes equality and freedom from discrimination by prohibiting any kind of discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethics, origin, tribe, birth, creed, or religion, social or economic status, political viewpoint, or disability.
The government, according to the petitioners, has the power to limit fundamental rights and freedoms, but only within the boundaries set forth in Article 43 of the constitution.
They point out that the Constitution ensures that everyone has the right to practice and manifest any religion, including the right to belong to and participate in the practices of any religious group or organization in a way that is consistent with the constitution.
They want the president’s actions, which resulted in the indefinite closure and suspension of places of worship and their activities, to be overturned in court.
“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 businesses other than places of worship to operate, is inconsistent and in violation of Articles 20,21(I)(2) & (3), 29(1)(C), 37,42, and 43 of the 1995 Constitution as amended,” they ask.
They want the court to rule that the government’s decision to allow other buildings and enterprises to operate than places of worship is unconstitutional and unconstitutional.