Stop arresting the “Idle and Disorderly” - Museveni - National | NTV

Stop arresting the “Idle and Disorderly” - Museveni


Tuesday October 1, 2019

President Yoweri Museveni 

The President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed the Police to stop arresting people for the Crime of “Idle and Disorderly” behavior. In a letter issued to Police personnel by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Okoth Ochola, those already arrested for the crime will be released immediately as per the order from the President.

The Idle and Disorderly law has been around since before the NRM took government. The law together with that one of being “Rouge and Vagabond” are imprinted as Sections 167 and 168 of Uganda’s Penal Code. These laws have been opposed multiple times by Human rights activists over the years and are believed to have been created for poor people.

Back in February 2016, the President made the first remark on abolishing the laws. While addressing his supporters at Kazo grounds in the New Nansana Municipality, Wakiso District, President Museveni tasked his aides at State House to remind him to engineer the repeal of the law criminalising ‘idle and disorderly’ persons.

No such legislation to repeal the order has ever been brought before Parliament more than three years later.

Section 167 of the Penal Code Act criminalises wandering persons, those gambling for cash or prostituting as being idle and disorderly and if convicted in court, they, if prostitutes or involved in soliciting for immoral purpose, face a maximum seven years imprisonment. Other aspects of the offence attract three months in jail or UGX 3,000 fine or both.

Critics say that the law on being idle and disorderly was enacted during the colonial era and is now outmoded and oppressive and should be abolished. Uganda Prisons officials have complained that prisons are crowded with petty offenders, most of them on remand, imposing unnecessary burden on resource-constrained detention facilities.

In the same, letter the IGP further pointed out that the President had also ordered the release of KCCA prisoners.

“The president has further directed that all the people arrested by the KCCA enforcement personnel in Kampala be released immediately,” the statement read.

A lot of individuals in Kampala arrested by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) personnel have been charged a fine of UGX 1 million for the crime of selling merchandise on the City’s pavements and walkways. All these individuals are set to be released with a warning.

“By Copy hereof, the Executive Director KCCA is also asked to comply with the directive of H.E the President,” read the letter.