An ordinance passed by Kabale district council regulating drinking hours has drawn protests from bar owners in the district.
Late in 2012, Kabale district local council passed a by-law regulating drinking hours in a bid to check crimes related to over consumption of alcohol.
Under the new by-law which came into effect May 2013, bars are not supposed to open before 4:00 pm and must close by 10:00 pm.
Under the law, a bar owner can have their license revoked when a patron is found on the premises drinking outside the designated hours. The patron pays a fine of 40, 000 shillings or serves six months in prison or both.
Many who run bar businesses argue that the by-law will result in heavy losses for them.
Scovia Kwarisima is the owner of Facebook pub in Bugongi Northern Division in Kabale municipality. She argues that bars are patronised by adults who do not need such a by-law. She says her patrons know when to work and when to go to a bar and no one should dictate for them when to do so.
Kato Jonan owns a bar in Kekubo, Nyabikoni ward in southern division in the municipality. He says the bylaw is punishing those who are law-abiding. He wonders why the authorities do not actively look out for those who sell alcohol to minors or dabble in the drug trade.
Vanansio Muhereza, a resident of Rugarama in Northern division, believes the law is a waste of time because no one will actively enforce it.
In fact, Muhereza says the law is unfair because the bar owners pay license to the sub counties and divisions. He wonders why the authorities would “punish” those who pay their salaries and entitlements in taxes.
Moreen Katushabe, a bar owner in Kikolegi , Central Division in Kabale municipality, says she will not be surprised to see that the people who have passed the by-law will be the first to disregard it.
But Kabale district chairperson Patrick Besigye Keihwa defends the by-law. He says it will help to encourage the culture of productive work.
He says the law is not so harsh as it puts aside at least seven hours for anyone to enjoy their drink.
Keihwa urged all local leaders to enforce the by-law because it will help to develop their population. He says it will also help reduce on issues like domestic violence that are often occur when the parties are intoxicated.
Kabale resident district commissioner Mathew Moses Elayo says that the security authorities will not hesitate to arrest anybody who defies the new law.
Aruu County MP Odonga Otto recently said he was tabling a private members bill in parliament to regulate hours of alcohol consumption. Otto suggested that Uganda should adopt the Kenyan example where it is illegal to sell alcohol before 5pm.