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Committee set up to draft POMA implementation guidelines

PM Rugunda guides the POMA deliberations

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A committee has been set up to scrutinise the 2013 Public Order Management Act (POMA) and draft guidelines on its implementation.

This was agreed at an Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) meeting held at Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo on Thursday. The meeting was attended by IPOD council members, political party representatives and a number of ministers.

Government delegation was led by Prime Minister Ruhakana Ruganda. He was accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana, Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwiine, Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo and Defense Minister Adolf Mwesigye.

The on-going POMA review is actualization of the December IPOD summit directive. The summit attended by President Museveni who is the Chairperson of the National Resistance Movement, Democratic Party (DP) President Norbert Mao, Uganda Peoples’ Congress President Jimmy Akena and JEMMA’s Asumani Basalirwa.

However, it was snubbed by Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) over harassment by security agencies.

The political parties’ presidents agreed that there is a need to come up with a harmonized approach for implementation of POMA.

The committee set up today is comprised of iPod council members—secretary generals of political party—represented in umbrella and Attorney General.

The IPOD council, DP Secretary General, Gerald Siranda says the committee is supposed to report back in 10 days. The committee will examine POMA taking into account harmonized interpretation by Attorney General Fred Ruhindi and then shadow Attorney General Abdu Katuntu issued in 2015.

He says that the committee has been asked to take into account experiences, developments and flaws in the POMA implementation and propose draft regulations for streamlining and smoothening its implementation.

The opposition parties have argued that the 2013 legislation has been used by government to block their activities. The interpretation of the act has been under contention since its enactment. Opposition politicians have argued that police has no right to authorise their meetings.

The opposition politicians says they are only required to notify police of their meetings and the role of police is offer them security but not to decide if meetings should go on or not.

Rugunda said they had candid discussion on POMA implementation. He is optimistic that all controversy around its implementation will be resolved through dialogue.

The Leader of Opposition, Betty Achan says opposition parties are tired of police harassment. She says they have given government 20 days for discussion.

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