In Jinja, it’s now illegal to defecate, urinate in any open space


Dr Joseph Banonya addressing council on COVID- 19 safety measures with his facemask resting in his pocket

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Summary

  • Each culprit to pay shs2m in penalty
  • Town dwellers strongly warned from misusing any public space within Jinja Municipality
  • The by-laws were passed in a general council meeting held on Friday
  • The JMC Medical Officer Dr Joseph Banonya addressed council on COVID- 19 safety measures with his facemask resting in his pocket

JINJA—29, May 2020: As Uganda prepares to join the global community in marking World Environment Day that takes place every year on 5 June, the authorities of Jinja Municipal Council (JMC) have passed stringent measures [by-laws] against enemies of environment.

The councillors resolved on Friday during a general council meeting held at the Main Hall. The Council observed social distancing in compliance with the safety protocols issued by the Ministry of Health to combat the mass spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Council Chambers could not meet the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as it was too small to host Council business.

Councillor George Henry Izaale who represents the people of Mpumudde parish moved a proposal of shs2m fine for any city dweller caught doing open defecation within the municipality.

He also proposed the same amount for any stubborn person caught urinating in ungazzetted place, together with those who dump garbage at will with no regards to public health concerns.

This is contained in a paper from the Public Health Department of the Jinja Municipal Council compiled by the Principal Health Inspector, Ms Prossy Nakato as one way of maintaining public health and safety in the fast growing municipality.

One of the biggest challenges facing urban authorities in Uganda is solid and liquid waste management because of the growing population and meagre budget allocated towards the same.

Mr Izaale who read the proposal on behalf of the Social Services Committee also introduced a “User Polluter Pay” for every household within the municipality effective next fiscal year.

The categories to pay different fees for garbage include: all hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, drug shops, and carpentry workshops, commercial and residential premises, among others.

Council unanimously approved the proposal, which they argue will not only serve as deterrent measures, but as good revenue sources to the already financially starving municipality. Jinja used to survive on taxi park before lockdown and ban of public transport.

However, the session presided over by the Council Speaker, Mr Moses Molson Bizitu could not be completed, thanks to the JMC Head of Public Health, Dr Joseph Banonya who forgot to wear a facemask while sensitising councillors to always strictly observe all the safety protocols.

Dr Banonya who forced the meeting to shift away from the Chambers stunned councillors and a handful of technical officers on grounds that the venue was not safe by addressing the meeting with a mask in his pocket instead.

This prompted the Speaker Moses Molson Bizitu to remind the good medical officer to live by example as opposed to a theory which is unnecessary at this critical moment.

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