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Museveni has not ordered landlords to stop collecting rent

FACT CHECK
By Hillary Orinde | March 22nd 2020

An article claiming Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (pictured above) has ordered landlords to stop collecting rent for 90 days to cushion tenants supposedly battered by coronavirus has been widely shared on social networking platforms.

The article archived here, reads in part, "…he (Museveni) warned that those who fail to comply will have their apartments or houses taken or sentenced to seven years in prison."

The claim is FALSE.

According to the article, the directive was issued through a notice from the president on March 18, 2020.

The fake document imbued with the government’s letterhead to pass off as genuine.

Another variation of the directive posted online and archived here, was allegedly addressed to the Minister of Works and Transport Monica Azuba Ntege.

However, Museveni has made no such directive.

Museveni has publicly commented on the virus scourge four times since it broke out in Wuhan, China late last year. The frequency of the updates has increased in the past week as the virus increases its foothold in African countries.

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None of the occasions involved him suspending rents.  

On February 29, he warned Ugandans against coronavirus, saying, "coronavirus is real, it does not kill as much and fast like Ebola, but spreads at a very terrific rate."

Ten days later on March 10, he shared guidelines for safe mass gatherings issued by his health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng.

"Please take note and cooperate accordingly. We have no suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus and we still can avoid it," Museveni implored Ugandan citizens.

On Wednesday, March 18, Museveni addressed the nation regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

He ordered for a month-long closure of schools and suspended religious gatherings across the country to prevent the spread of the highly-contagious virus.

Public rallies and cultural meetings were also suspended for 32 days. Funerals and burials are to be attended by only close relatives and neighbours. Social interactions in bars, cinemas, concerts, discos were banned.

Strict quarantine measures for Ugandans and foreigners entering the country were also issued among others.

"Ugandans coming back from abroad will not be stopped, but they will be placed under quarantine at their own cost. Foreigners going out cannot be stopped from doing so either provided they are not coming back within 32 days. "

On March 19, he advocated for handwashing – a critical and proven part of preventing coronavirus – before people touched their eyes, nose or mouth.

The messages were reinforced on March 20 during afternoon national prayers "in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic" at State House, Entebbe, Uganda.

"We believe that we can never do enough in the face of coronavirus unless God is with us."

Museveni is set to address the nation again today after the country confirmed its first case of coronavirus yesterday.

The patient, a 36-year-old Ugandan male arrived from Dubai at 2 am Saturday on aboard Ethiopian Airlines.

Back to rent issues. No news outlets in the country or State communication channels have reported that Museveni issued the directive to landlords/landladies.

Hitherto, the collection of rent in the country is governed by the Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2018 that was passed by the Ugandan parliament in June 2019.

It provides that landlords and tenants must sign tenancy agreements for rental transactions of over Shillings 500,000 with clear terms and conditions. 

Also, tenancy disputes are to be handled in local council court and other courts of law among other provisions.

With the ever-increasing deluge of misinformation on coronavirus, you can more fact-checked claims here.

This is an initiative of the Standard Group to combat fake news, misinformation and disinformation. If there’s something you want us to look into, email [email protected]

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