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Civil Society wants court to interpret POMA

Robert Kyagulanyi arrested ahead of his first consultative meeting on his presidential ambitions.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  | Civil Society organisations under their umbrella the National NGO forum want court to clearly spell out the powers given to Uganda Police Force-UPF under the Public Order Management Act-POMA.

According to Civil Societies, the act gives police ambiguous powers that need to be spelt out clearly.

This comes a few hours after police blocked the first consultative meeting of Robert Kyagulanyi, the Kyandondo East Member of parliament on his presidential ambitions and banned political gatherings in private homes.

Charity Kalebbo Ahimbisibwe, the Head of Communication and Advocacy at Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda-CCEDU, says police often interprets POMA the way it wants.

According Ahimbisibwe, the powers that POMA grants the police force have left many Ugandans insecure, something that might negatively affected the 2021 general elections.

“After what happened yesterday, how do you expect women to confidently walk to the polls and cast a vote if a simple consultation meeting ends in death,” Ahimbisibwe asked.

The act, which came into force in 2013, has drawn sharp criticism mainly from opposition politicians. According to Civil society, if nothing is done to reign in on the powers of police, the forthcoming elections are likely to be full of unnecessary arrests and bloodshed.

Henry Kasacca, the Executive Director of Dialogue and Democracy Training Center, says the current law gives police a lot of powers, which isn’t checked by anybody.

He says that some of the conditions that police sets for those intending to hold public meetings are very unrealistic.

Sarah Birete, an Associate Director at the Center for Constitutional Governance says something needs to be done to reign in on police because the threats of future arrests for holding meeting are illegal.

Birete says that court needs to come out and make a ruling on the constitutionality of POMA.

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One comment

  1. In Uganda there’s nothing like police force and people’s defense forces. These are merely regime thugs to keep a dictator cling onto power what a shameless forced

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