There have been many law suits and public complaints against churches for making excessive noise and disturbing the quietness of neighbourhoods day and night. The latest suit is against Pastor Aloysius Bugingo’s House of Prayer Ministries church. The petitioner has also sued Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) for failing to exercise their statutory mandate to stop the church from making excessive noise.
However, this is not the only case. Complaints against churches for noise making are prevalent across the country, especially Kampala Metropolitan Area. In some places, churches outnumber schools. Many are not even licensed. It’s not clear whether KCCA and Nema ever inspect these churches to check whether they are licensed to operate. These should be closed straight away. Even the licensed churches, many do not adhere to the law on noise or the licence requirements.
The statutory bodies charged with regulating noise pollution in the country should not abdicate their mandate. KCCA and Nema should save Ugandans from this offensive church noise. True the born-again faithful have a right of worship under the Constitution, but they cannot enjoy their right by violating other people’s right to a quiet and tranquil environment.
Pentecostal churches have become a menace to the communities where they operate. They hold noisy prayer sessions day and night, drumming or playing exploding gospel music thus denying people peaceful sleep. Criminals also take advantage of night prayers. They spend the early time of the night at the churches purporting to be praying as they wait for the night to go down to the wee hours to embark on their criminal missions.
Nearly every neighbourhood in Kampala metropolitan area has a church. Pentecostal churches have been erected recklessly in residential areas, trading centres and other congested places such as near hospitals, schools, etc, which require quietness. There is no control or intervention by the authorities on the level of music/noise pollution by these churches. This is absurd.
We call upon KCCA and Nema to prevail on the offending churches to stop or minimise the noise. They should inspect these churches to check whether they are licensed and are in the right locations as required by the law and ascertain whether they are complying with the law on noise pollution. The churches lack sound-proofing material yet they are in places that require quietness.
The communities have resorted to courts of law because KCCA and Nema have failed their mandate to monitor and regulate the churches which have been allowed to commit noise pollution with unfettered impunity. Nema and KCCA must wake up and do their job. Otherwise, they will face many more law suits for offences they have not committed.
The issue: Noise pollution
Our view: We call upon KCCA and Nema to prevail on the offending churches to stop or minimise the noise. They should inspect these churches to check whether they are licensed and are in the right locations as required by the law.