KAMPALA – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has, for the second time, declined to assent the controversial Genetic Engineering Regulatory bill 2018.
The bill which was previously known as the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill 2012 was first rejected by the president in 2017 in which he raised 12 issues that required improvement.
Kadaga said, “As I said this situation is very interesting because he has written to me and now proposing a number of clauses, additional clauses that weren’t in his original bill.”
In a letter to parliament read by the speaker Rebecca Kadaga Museveni has again refused to ascent to the bill and has instead suggested a number of proposals that need to be addressed for the benefit of scientists and community.
The President’s letter read in part, “I would like to thank
all the various stakeholders who have contributed to the development of this law I, however, regret to inform you that I reject the law in its current form, I am unable to ascent to it for reasons I elaborate in this letter.”
The speaker said that among the issues that the president wants them to address include benefit-sharing between the breeder, inventor and indigenous communities, the scope of the law, isolation measures, use of poisons and dangerous enzymes and bacteria, strict liability among others.
The President cautioned Parliament to proceed to review the bill with caution and include the necessary safeguards in the law, blaming Parliament’s failure to consider his earlier recommendations when the bill was returned on MPs’ narrow interpretation of Parliament procedure which saw lawmakers delete a number of clauses that were debated on the floor.
“Some of the critical issues I raised in my previous communication haven’t been fully addressed. The issue of GMOs and genetic modification of our seeds, livestock and now I hear GMO mosquitoes that are not only science, ecology and agriculture which are a risk to national security, food security and sovereignty of our nation,” read in part Museveni’s letter.
Kadaga noted that even though upon its second rejection parliament only needed to table laid the bill so that it becomes law they have been presented with a new situation which she says she will allow the prime minister to retable before September 11, 2019.