Gulu district Local Government on Monday unanimously rejected the call by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to halt the implementation of the District Alcohol Drinks and Control Ordinance.
During a heated special Full council meeting held at the district Council hall, the district councilors and the members of the Civil Society organisations said it was not in order to halt the implementation by nine months as requested by the Ministry.
According to Okello Richard Okot is a commissioner in the Ministry of trade and Industry , the delay is to give time for the Central Government to nationalize the ordinance.
Gulu district came out with the district Alcohol Drinks and Control Ordinance in 2016 as one of the ways of regulating the Sachet Waragi Consumption in the district.
The ordinance bans the sale and consumption of Sachet Waragi in a plastic container less 250ml, regulates time of sales of Alcohol in the district and giving out of trading license.
Among other things, the Ordinance prescribes the packaging of alcoholic drinks, which should be in glass container not less than 250ml.
This Particular requirement on packaging in the ordinance thus make the regulation subject to the disciplines of World Organization Trade WTO -TBT agreement Article 2 and 3, according Uganda Ministry of Trade.
Uganda is among the members 104 of WTB which ratified the agreement and deposited instrument of ratification in 1994.
The Ministry Trader and Industry early this year wrote to all the Resident District Commissioners in the country to put to halt the Alcohol Ordinances in the Country.
The Ministry says the formulation process and implementation of Ordinance is a breach of WTO TBO agreement, article 2 and 3 on understanding on the Rules and procedure governing settlement of disputes.
The Ministry wants a stay of the implementation of the Ordinance until the Notification of the WTO Secretariat is done and compliance with the requirements of Articles of 2, and 3.
Okello says more adequate times should be given to engage various stakeholders in the process of implementation of the Ordinance and the legislation should be redefined.
Despite his presentation before the special council meeting, the councilors and the civil Society organizations unanimously rejected the plea
The councilors bowed down to the pressure by the ministry of Trade and Industry to halt the implementations of the ordinance
Gulu Resident District Commissioner Capt. Okot Santos Lapolo was also in the support of the legislators describing the debate as a center for dialogue with the ministry.
Gulu district believe that they followed all the legal procedures to come out with the ordinance and the issue arriving from the ministry now is too late.
Gulu district chairman Ojara Martine Mapenduzi outlines why reason they feel the district cannot reserve its stand on the ordinance
Democratic President Norbert Mao applauded the district leadership for standing firm behind the ordinance and adds the battle of fight against alcohol is for a collective future of this district.
The Gulu Municipality Member of Parliament Lyandro Kumakech says he will ensure the Minister of trade and Industry be summoned before the Parliament to explain circumstance surrounding this incident
Program Mange with World Vision Harriet Aloyo who represented the civil Society organizations says they counting down so many achievements in the district but it is very unfortunate when such achievements being challenged.
Gulu district Speaker Hon Okwonga John ruled that the implementation of the Ordinance should continue and be intensified because issues raised by the ministry of trade is not the business of the district.
There was allegation that district councilors were bribed with over sh200m to vote in favor of the Ministry.
The Speaker confirms he turned down sh50 offers to halt the implementation of the District Alcohol Drinks and Control Ordinance.
Speaking during the second council special meeting at District council hall on Monday, Okwonga says he received offers from the people he did not divulge ranging between sh50-100 million.
Okwonga says they received a lot of intimations and they stood their grounds for their people.
Gulu district is due to burn over 300 cartoons of impounded sachet waragi in the first operation carried out early this year.