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Activists lose petition on DDT use
Publish Date: Mar 12, 2014
Activists lose petition on DDT use
Justice Augustine Nshimye was on the panel of five judges
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By Darius Magara and Andante Okanya

Activists opposed to the use of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), have lost a Constitutional petition that sought to ban the use of the chemical in the anti-malaria fight.

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal sitting as a Constitutional Court, on a technicality, that although the petition raised serious issues on environment protection, it did not raise matters for constitutional interpretation.

The petition arose in 2009, when civil society organisation Uganda Network on Toxic-Free Malaria Control (UNETMAC) dragged the Attorney General (AG), to court.

The organisation lamented that indoor residual spray and the continued use of the insecticide was calamitous to Uganda's agricultural exports.

Prior, the Health ministry had embarked on indoor residual spraying in homes in the northern districts of Apac and Oyam between April and May 2008.

The judgment of a panel of five Justices was delivered by Justice Kenneth Kakuru. The court declined to award government costs, noting that the petition was filed in public interest.

The other Justices on the panel were; Augustine Nshimye, Faith Mwondha, Eldad Mwangusya, and Geoffrey Kiryabwire.

They noted that they were unable to find anywhere that the petition calls for interpretation of the constitution. They pronounced that "the petition itself does not directly or by inference raise any issue or question that calls for constitutional interpretation."

UNETMAC lawyer Obed Mwebesa had argued that DDT use violated article 39 of the 1995 Constitution which prescribes that, "Every Ugandan has a right to a clean and healthy environment."

He asserted that the Health ministry did not adhere to guidelines set by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

Mwambutysa said it was logical for the exercise to enable Government fulfill its constitutional duty of saving lives of its citizens.

After the judgment had been delivered, UNETMAC secretary general Ellady Muyambi, insisted that the organisation would lodge a fresh case in the High Court, as advised by the Justices.

 

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