Uganda’s Constitutional court has nullified Section 8 of the Public Order Management Act and all Police acts done under the said section.
Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | The Constitutional court has nullified section 8 of the Public Order Management Act of 2013, that was giving absolute powers to Police to prohibit and disperse political gatherings under suspicions that the intended gathering would cause a breach or disruption of peace.
In a majority decision of 4:1 Justices of the court including Kenneth Kakuru, Geoffrey Kiryabwire , Elizabeth Musoke and Cheborion Barishaki, the court faulted Parliament for passing and enacting a section of the law that is intended to alter an earlier decision of court which is contrary to section 92 of the Constitution.
They revealed that in 2005, Butambala County Member of parliament Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi successfully challenged section 32 of the Police Act which even though not phrased with the same wording is a re-incarnation and modification section 8 of POMA.
The Justices noted that , the act of Parliament undermined the effort put in by the Justices in 2005 to explain how Police may not have supernatural powers to know that an intended meeting may disrupt public peace, and instead went a head in 2013 to modify the Police Act by enacting section 8 of POMA, which notion defeats the doctrine of separation of powers among the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.
They therefore observed that the said section 8 of POMA was enacted to suffocate players in partisan politics by infringing on their rights to free assembly and peaceful demonstration, because often times music concerts and football activities with competing teams where a breach of peace is suspected to occur; are not stopped by Police.
However, the fifth Judge Steven Musota dissented in his Judgement, by not signing the majority judgement which has also nullified and declared as unlawful all Police acts done under the impugned section.
The Justices didn’t award costs in this Petition filed in 2016 by Human Rights watch dogs ; Indigenous Voluntary Associates , The Uganda Association of Female Lawyers , Individuals such as MP Muwanga Kivumbi and Activist Bishop Zac Niringiye, saying it was filed within the spirit of Public Interest.