According to the Toxic Chemicals and Prohibition Act 2015, which was assented to by President Museveni in December 2015, any person found guilty of an offense related to the use of acid will, upon conviction, face life imprisonment.
Gloria Kankunda, a survivor of an acid attack and managing director of the Centre for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burns Violence, says that survivors of acid attacks welcome the new law as a means to ending acid attacks but they say the bill is too general and they would have prefered a separate bill that caters specifically to acid attacks.
Gloria Kanjunda’s life journey nearly came to an end in 2009 when she was attacked with acid. She was three months pregnant and she suffered acid burns on 70% of her body.
Gloria, now a mother of two children recalls the night that would change her life in a manner she would never envisage. She underwent over 20 very costly surgeries in South Africa, a cost she says was overwhelming.
Kankunda's co-wife and other attackers were produced in court but the case was dropped because of some legal loopholes because Kankunda, who was the only witness, was in in hopsital and incapable of testifying.
Kankunda and another survivor, Hannifa Nakiryowa, have since founded the Centre for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burns to offer psychosocial support to others who have gone through their experiences.
Despite the numerous cases of acid attacks and testimonies from victims and survivors, very few prosecutions ever get registered. This is one of the challenges that have curtailed the fight against acid attacks in the country.
The new law signed by President Museveni hands a life imprisonment to the perpetrators.
Yet even with the progress made in legislation, Kankunda says more needs to be done. She says that the law does not tackle deliberate acts of violence with acid because it is very generally about using chemicals as weapons.
Article 9 1(c) of the Toxic Chemicals and Prohibition Act 2015 states that "A person shall not use chamical weapons". Clause 2(a) of the same law states that a person who contravenes subsection 1 commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
According to 2011 statistics by the Acid Survivors Foundation in Uganda, 57% of acid attack survivors were female and 43% male. The reason cited in the report indicate conflict in relationships and business and property wrangles.