Authorities, church clash over noise pollution in Mukono

Some of the pastors that attended a meeting with Mukono authorities at Mt. Lebanon Church Mukono over the weekend. PHOTO/JESSICA SABANO

What you need to know:

  • For pastor Rosette Kyumakyayesu, calling the Lord loudly is biblical and can't be regulated by human legislation.

The Mukono municipal environment officer has clashed with his counterpart in police over controlling noise pollution in the area.

Mr George Masengere accuses born-again churches of organizing open air night crusades that cause a lot of noise pollution in the area affecting locals but the Officer in Charge (OC) of the Mukono Police Division Environment Unit, Mr Moses Byamukama defends the churches saying “they are exercising their fundamental right of freedom of worship.”

“Residents have been complaining of noise from born again churches and demand closure of churches that don't have sound proof," Masengere said as authorities met over 100 pastors operating in the area.

Mukono Municipality Mayor Mr Elisa Nkoyoyo observed that the noise from churches is beyond limit.

"Uganda Christian University (UCU) recently approached us over noise pollution that disrupts their students’ concentration in lectures," he said in the meeting at Mt. Lebanon Church in Mukono at the weekend.

But policeman Mr Byamukama opined differently.

“We have not seen people complaining and we cannot interrupt your crusades," he assured pastors just over three months after Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Geoffrey Katsigazi Tumusiime, directed the Force to implement the noise pollution law to regulate unnecessary sound. 

However, the drive started in June 2022 triggered complaints from residents about the exemption of born-again churches.

“Apart from producing uncontrolled sound, many churches have erected megaphones on their rooftops that disturb peace in residential areas,” Mukono resident Joseph Kigozi,57, said.

For Mt Lebanon Church pastor, Ms Rosette Kyumakyayesu, calling the Lord loudly is biblical and can't be regulated by human legislation.

"The Lord cannot hear through silent prayers, the more you speak out, the more God answers your prayers. So, don't limit us," Ms Kyumakyayesu said on August 6.

Mukono municipality has only one sound level metre which environmental experts say is enough to measure noise in the area.

According to the Environment (Noise Standards and Control) Regulations 2003, the maximum permissible noise levels for any building in Uganda should not exceed 45 decibels during day and 35 decibels during the night.

“The existing law on noise pollution was enacted without conducting wide consultations and cannot, therefore, be used against us,” said Christ Ambassadors Church pastor Moses Kabande.

Sound is measured in decibels (dB). The range that is safe for a human’s ears should be under 85 dB.

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