The Opposition National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) Party has resolved to challenge the Public Health Amendment Act 2021 that was recently assented to by President Yoweri Museveni.
NEED President Joseph Kabuleta says that in the provisions of the Public Health Amendment Act 2021 undermine many human rights, freedoms and medical ethics which must be challenged, for the good of all Ugandans.
Kabuleta, a strong critic of the COVID19 vaccination, points out that the some of the provisions of the law aim at gagging people like him who have always shared very important information about vaccines and other measures like curfew which authorities claim to be protecting Ugandans against epidemics like Marburg, Ebola and COVID19. He stressed that such a provisions in the law will be detrimental to the health of many innocent Ugandans.
“There is no body who has a monopoly over information. If you tell me that my information is misleading, then go and present yours and let the people decide who is misleading and who is not …..”
Among other provisions, the law provides for a one million shillings fine or six months jail term for any person spreading misinformation regarding the use of vaccines, while those who may violate curfew are likely to face a fine of up to 3 million shillings.
Kabuleta also expresses disappointment that Members of Parliament passed the bill which disregards many medical ethics including mandatory vaccination of children with a penalty of 1 million shillings /3 months in jail for a parent whose child is not vaccinated.
“During lockdown they would arrest you under curfew. There was no law, they would tell you, you are disobeying presidential orders. But now, there is a law, this thing we are going to challenge. It should be challenged. It goes against all medical ethics…. But also our Parliament you people! How can MPs allow such a law be passed?,” Kabuleta questioned.
In February 2022, the Parliamentary Committee on Health started the consideration of the Public Health (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that among other things sought to ensure mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.
The object of the bill was to amend the Public Health Act (1935) to repeal the obsolete provisions; to revise the fines for offenses committed under the Act; to repeal the provisions on venereal diseases. Building and construction and public sewers and to repeal the venereal diseases Act, Cap, 284 and the Immunisation Act, 2017;
President Yoweri Museveni assented to the bill on February 08, 2023, to give the government through the Ministry of Health teeth to bite parents who fail to vaccinate their children and anyone who fails to report outbreak of usual diseases and disclose whereabouts of contacts.
The law provides for a 3 million shilling fine for anyone who suffers from any infectious disease and willfully exposes himself or herself without precautions against spreading the disease in any street, public building, or place. This is an increase from the UGX300 – or 3-months imprisonment in the old law.