The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga has assured Ugandans that the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis does not warrant a declaration of a State of Emergency as some Members of Parliament and a section of the public was demanding.
The Attorney General made the remarks Thursday while clarification on the tabled Statutory Instruments to legally back up the presidents directives that called for suspension of some activities as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga had earlier informed the House that she together with the Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe had proposed that the President declares a State of Emergency but their call was rejected by Cabinet.
“Last Friday, the President invited us the top leaders of the branches, the Chief Justice, the Deputy, the Prime Minister, I and others. It was the position of the Chief Justice and I that we should have a State of Emergency declared but the objections came from one of the Ministers and other members of Cabinet, they told the President that it was not necessary that we can go under the Public health Act yet this matter is beyond the Ministry of Health,” Kadaga informed Parliament.
However, Byaruhanga told Parliament that the President and the Cabinet did not see any reasons and circumstance that require him to declare a State of Emergency.
He said that declaring a State of Emergency will result in the suspension of certain rights and freedoms of Ugandans.
The Attorney General said that the President will announce a State of Emergency at a right time since it requires extreme measures.
“There shall be a consideration of whether to declare a State of Emergency or not, however it is his view and that of Cabinet that the current circumstances do not yet justify the need to declare a State of Emergency which is his prerogative,” Byaruhanga said.
Byaruhanga noted that this has to be declared in the most stringent of conditions adding that declaring a state of emergency will result in the suspension of certain rights and Freedoms.
The President is waiting to exercise his judgment on this matter when he thinks that the time is right for taking more stringent measures. These measures may extend to commandeering private vehicles, turning warehouses, stadiums, apartments into hospitals, Byaruhanga said.
The statutory instruments tabled before Parliament by Government included; the Public Health Notification COVID-19 ORDER 2020 , the Public Health Prevention of COVID-19 Requirement s, The Conditions of Entry into Uganda Order 2020 and the Public Health Control of COVID-19 Rules ,the public Health prohibition of entry into Uganda order 2020.