By Spy Uganda
Uganda Police through its spokesperson Fred Enanga has vowed to deal with weed smokers using the National Drug Policy & Authority Act (NDA) 1993.
Last week, Constitutional Court annulled the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act 2015 for lack of quorum on the part of Parliament, during its enactment in 2012, contrary to Articles 88 and 89 of the Constitution and Rule 23 of the Rules of Procedure of the 9th Parliament, 2012.
The pronouncement attracted mixed reactions from the public about the unrestricted consumption of narcotics related substances under the Act.
Police however says that fortunately, the old law of the NDA was not affected by the ruling and is still in force.
”Therefore, the police, DPP and Judiciary, will continue to afford their old powers, to tackle narcotics related offences in the Act. The drugs under the NDA are illegal, because they are harmful and affects both physical and mental health, relationships, career prospects, crime and the wider society,” said Fred Enanga.
Last year, 2022, a total of 2,797 cases of Narcotics/Drugs were reported to the police country wide, compared to 1,668 cases reported in 2021, thus giving a 67.7% increase in the crime category. A total of 4,818 suspects were arrested and charged to court, including 137 juveniles.
Enanga says cannabis has consistently been the most used drug, followed by cocaine.
Part IV of the Act provides for the restrictions of Narcotics, Section 47, prohibits the possession of narcotics, without lawful excuse; Section 48, prohibits the smoking of opium or Indian hemp, use of premises by persons smoking opium or Indian hemp etc and Section 49 prohibits without consent of the Minister, cultivation of plants yielding narcotics.
Now Enanga says, ”As the UPF, we still maintain a zero-tolerance approach to the consumption of substances prohibited under the NDA. All our territorial commanders have been instructed to maintain or step-up enforcement action against offenders and enhance deterrence efforts to help stop narcotic drugs consumption in the country and crimes driven by it. Our neighbourhoods don’t deserve to be victim to drug dealers.”