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This is one of the most beautiful times of the year. A time when we can barely keep track of which day is which because every day seems like a Saturday and every morning feels like the previous day. This period is characterised by merrymaking. However, as you enjoy, and as the economy is fully reopened next year, remember that you still live in a country which has laws governing its people, Charity M. Ngabirano writes

Smoking
Uganda has tough laws on smoking and tobacco sales. According to the Tobacco Control Act, lighting up in a bar, hotels or restaurants could set you back with some sixty dollars or a jail term of up to two months. Also, smokers must be at least 50 meters away from public spaces, such as schools, hospitals and taxis. The same law also bans the sale of electronic cigarettes and flavoured tobacco for water pipes or shisha, which are popular in nightclubs. Persons under the age of 21 should not be caught buying any tobacco products.

Banned cosmetics
Over 100 different types of cosmetics were banned in Uganda because they contain mercury, a key ingredient in most of them that causes kidney damage, skin damage, and reduces the skins ability to resist bacterial and fungal infections. The other ingredient, hydroquinone, is linked to cancer, organ system toxicity and respiratory tract irritations.

Many women want to brighten their skin complexions these days. However, ignorance of the fact these cosmetics were banned does not protect you in case you are caught with them. As you note down your New Year resolution to change skin colour, or venture into the business, beware of what you are dealing with.

Alcohol
“Please drink responsibly”. You must have seen and/or heard this phrase many times. It is not just part of an advert, but a serious and stern caution. Section 19 of the Liquor Act places the legal age for alcohol purchase and consumption at 18 years. So if after several years out of school you’ve eventually started feeling above 18 and visiting bars, you need to go slow. Stay away from the steering wheel if you’ve had some, for your own sake and the passengers.

Abortions
Abortions are illegal in Uganda unless performed by a licensed medical doctor in a situation where the mother’s life is deemed to be at risk. So before you start escorting friends for such a procedure, you should know what you are getting yourself into. 

Cyber harassment
Social media is no doubt one of  those places where young people spend most of their time. The Computer Misuse Act is the law under which charges such as cyber harassment and offensive communication lie. Online engagements are often misused and people end up going overboard. Pictures can be regarded as offensive as the words themselves. Therefore, what we post carries a bearing on our lives, the most notorious of examples being Dr. Stella Nyanzi who was put away in jail for an offensive poem. I’m sure you can avoid words and pictures that will cause you trouble.

 Happy New Year!

The writer is an advocate

Note: The article is intended to provide information about general statements of law and is not intended to create an advocate-client relationship. Contact a lawyer on specific legal problems

 

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