Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Political parties under the Inter-party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) are set to dialogue on the implementation of Public Order Management Act (POMA).
The dialogue is being organised by the IPOD secretariat and Office of the Prime Minister. The event will be held on Thursday at Imperial Royale Hotel.
IPOD brings together political parties with representation in Parliament. Current IPOD members include Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), National Resistance Movement (NRM), Democratic Party (DP), Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) and Justice Forum (JEEMA).
The opposition have argued that the act 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.
They argue that they are only required to notify police of their meetings and the role of police is to offer them security but not to decide if meetings should go on or not.
The dialogue will bring together a number of stakeholders from both government and opposition parties, civil society and the academia. The stakeholders will review how the act has been implemented and make recommendations.
Review of the POMA was one of the action plans agreed during the November 2018 IPOD summit attended by President Museveni.
The outcome of the dialogue will be fine-tuned and presented to leaders of political parties during the second summit, scheduled for next month.
The POMA dialogue comes on the heels of intensified crackdown of FDC activities by police.
FDC had scheduled a number of activities across the country which was disrupted by security.
DP secretary general, Gerald Siranda who is the IPOD council chairperson says the organisation supports implementation of POMA in a non-partisan manner.
The NRM Women’s League chairperson, Lydia Wanyoto said the ruling party has opened the door to dialogue with opposition parties. Wanyoto said police, the implementers of the act will be brought on board to tell their side of the story.
“We want to listen to police. Maybe, they have issues with those who are complaining. But if they are making omissions and commissions, we are open to discussions to rectify that,” she said.
She asked opposition parties’ leaders to embrace the dialogue with open heart and ready to negotiate.