Rubaga South MP Kato Lubwama and Theatrical Association Uganda Ltd have sued government for recently allowing an open music show by three Nigerian artistes yet their local counterparts were banned from performing due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In a December 17 suit, the performers cite selective enforcement of the law by security agencies regarding Covid-19 guidelines.
They contend that ever since President Museveni banned open air music concerts and other related cultural entertainment shows in March, they have adhered to the same.
However, they were shocked on December 12 to learn that security agents allowed an open music show at Ddungu Resort Beach in Munyonyo with a crowd surpassing the recommended 200 revellers.
Mr Lubwama and group sued East Meets West Ltd, Ivan Ddungu trading as Ddungu Resort, Kasana Events, National Environment Management Authority (Nema), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Attorney General (AG).
“The acts of the 4th (Nema) , 5th (KCCA) and 6th (AG) respondents of allowing the 1st (East Meets West), 2nd (Ddungu Ivan) and 3rd (Kasana Events) respondents to organise and hold an open air musical concert contrary to the Public Health (Control of Covid-19) rules, 2020 while the applicants, remained restricted, was selective enforcement of the law and an infringement of the applicants’ right to practice their trade contrary to Article 21 (1) and 2 of the Constitution,” the suit reads in part.
They add that for the last nine months, they have not been able to practise their trade thereby suffering economic losses estimated at Shs2b.
They want court to declare that the acts of government, especially security agencies in allowing last week’s open air music show was reckless, unreasonable and an infringement on their rights to a clean and health environment guaranteed under Article 39 of the Constitution.
There was also public uproar over police allowing such a gathering at a time when the country is grappling with a high number of Covid-19 infections. The Makindye Magistrate’s Court in Kampala charged the three Nigerian artistes Temilade Openyi, Muyiwa Awoniyi and Stanley Omah Didia and remanded them to prison for doing a neglect act likely to spread Covid-19. The Director of Public Prosecutions later dropped the charges and the Nigerians were ordered to return home. Their Ugandan co-accused are still facing the charges.