KAMPALA – Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has given the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee a green light to proceed with their planned move to enforce a recent directive by President Yoweri Museveni to stop arresting and charging Ugandans with the offence of idle and disorderly.
Kadaga’s directive followed a matter raised by Jackson Kafuuzi (Kyaka South) during Wednesday’s plenary sitting where he noted that although the President had directed Police and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to release all suspects charged with idle and disorderly offence as well as discontinue prosecution of all inmates at Luzira prison facing the same charges, the idle and disorderly offence still remain on statute books and people can still be arrested and charged.
Kafuuzi said, “The magistrates aren’t going to cite the prevalence of the directive, they will rely on the evidence either to dismiss or convict. My prayer is that the Attorney General should be called upon to work together with the law reform to make sure that some of these provisions of the law that no longer fitting our times are repealed or amended accordingly.”
After Kafuuzi’s concern, Kadaga directed the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga to update Parliament on when he intends to amend all the legal provisions that have outlived their usefulness with some having been declared null and void by courts of law.
However, she shifted her directive to the Legal Committee after Jacob Oboth, Chairperson Legal Committee told Parliament that the Committee was in the final stages of having the provision deleted saying, “If the Attorney General doesn’t come up with it, we will seek for leave of Parliament to move the amendment and process the motion. It is a very small amendment to delete the offence. If you get head of state coming up, that should have been law revision. We could do an amendment in one day.”
It was then that the Speaker said that if the Committee had embarked on this motion, there is no need to wait for the Attorney General stating, “It is one bill that has no financial implication there are also others that the attorney general has forgotten about so we move with them.”
Kadaga’s directive follows a letter written by President Museveni’s directing Police to immediately release suspects arrested on charges of idle and disorderly saying no person should be arrested for this crime.
The 1st October 2019 police circular by Inspector General of Police Okoth-Ochola, instructed police officers to fully comply with the Presidential directive to stop arresting people on basis of being idle and disorderly adding that the president also directed that all those already arrested for the crime be released immediately.
Ochola also said that the President had directed that all the people arrested by the Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) enforcement personnel in Kampala and are in prison for failure to pay a fine of Shs 1 million be released immediately but warned not to repeat the offence of selling merchandise on the pavements.