Nyanzi proposes clauses in the mental health bill

Former Makerere university lecturer and research fellow Dr. Stella Nyanzi wants parliament to add clauses in the mental health bill 2004 to ensure that government critics do not become targets of police.

Appearing before the parliamentary health committee chaired by Bukuya Mp Dr. Micheal Yiga Bukenya, Nyanzi said if the bill is passed in the current form, government may misuse it’s powers of providing care and treatment for persons with mental health problems to persecute political opponents.

Nyanzi who is also a human rights activist said that the bill gives police permission to arrest any person suspected to be suffering from mental illness without an arrest warrant.

She told members that government may use the law to arrest and subject critics to mental health checkups yet it is supposed to be voluntary.

Nyanzi also advised mps to undergo counseling for the trauma they suffered during the passing of the constitutional amendment act to remove the presidential age limit saying that mental illness is caused by a number of factors including political trauma.

The health committee is currently scrutinizing the Mental Health Act 2014 to repeal the Mental Treatment Act of 1964 which government says is outdated.

February 07 2018