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Political parties unveil new POMA regulations

FILE PHOTO: PM Rugunda guides the POMA deliberations

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Political parties under the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) have agreed and unveiled new regulations that will guide security agencies in the implementation of Public Order Management Act (POMA) of 2013.

The new regulations were unveiled by secretary generals of political parties and Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda in a meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Rugunda gave political parties assurance that the new regulations will be implemented expeditiously to the last dot.

IPod brings together political parties represented in parliament. Parties have had a number of meetings in the past weeks and more meetings are expected in regard to implementation of the contentious act.

The new regulations will clarify the power of Inspector General Police, the meaning of public meetings, procedures for filing notice with the police and what should police include in its reply to police and timelines for meetings of political parties, among other issues.

“The proposed regulations seek to; clarify the power of the Inspector General of Police or authorized officer under section 3 of POMA by clearly defining who an authorized officer is,” a statement released by IPOD council reads.

“Clarify the meaning of a public meeting especially what amounts to a public place for the purposes of the POMA 2013. Prescribe the procedure for filing the notice with the Police before a public meeting is held,” it further says.”

Rugunda said there has been consensus among political parties that POMA is a good law with exception of few operation challenges which have been resolved. He said government recognises the need to change the way the law is being implemented.

Luganda: Gerald Siranda, Democratic Party Secretary General and Chairperson of IPOD council .

Rugunda said all political disagreements will be ironed out by Ugandans through negotiations.

Luganda: Gerald Siranda explains what will be the role of Inspector General of Police or other police officers.

Rugunda, responding to questions on timeline of implementation of new regulation, said all parties agreed that change is “needed as early as yesterday.” He said government will be communicating steps taken in the coming weeks.

Siranda explained that another meeting is lined up this week with Inspector General of Police and Minister of Internal Affairs to discuss implementation steps.

Currently, IPOD members are drawn from the Democratic Party (NRM), National Resistance Movement (NRM), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) and Justice Forum (JEEMA).  All parties except FDC agreed to give government a benefit of doubt.

FDC’s Deputy Secretary General, Harold Kaija argued that police and army have continued to shell party activities with teargas even when they were in meetings rooms.

“We are here today, police is disrupting and dispersing FDC activities in Buikwe. Why should we believe? I told the Prime Minister face to face,” Kaija said.

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