In the Inter Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) summit that took place on December 12, 2018, the regulation of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) 2013 was among the key factors discussed with a main intent of creating a fair ground for all political players in the country.
During the engagement, the IPOD council was directed to work with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure compliance with the law by all state agencies, political parties and individual actors to end acts of impunity, lawlessness and criminality.
Even though the dialogue reached an understanding, opposition members have continuously fallen victims of the State viciousness.
The police have on several occasions crashed Opposition rallies and gatherings, with former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) President Dr Kizza Besigye and Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine coming out as key victims.
On Tuesday, Norbert Mao, the Democratic Party (DP) President said State’s continuous brutality against opposition politicians risks the future of the IPOD summit.
“I have decided to meet them one by one informally and share with them the concerns about the actions of the State that undermine the spirit of the dialogue. You cannot have a fair competition if the security forces are partisan,”said Mao who is also the current IPOD chairperson.
Government, IPOD council meet
Following the outcry from the opposition politicians, government and the IPOD Council on Thursday April 25, 2019 met at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala to consider the implementation of POMA 2013.
In a day-long closed meeting, both parties resolved to form a committee comprising of the Attorney General and the Secretaries of the five Political parties to examine the POMA taking account the harmonized interpretation by the Attorney General and his shadow counterpart as issued in a press release of December 8, 2015.
The parties also agreed to take account the experience, developments and flaws in the implementation of the POMA and propose draft regulations for streamlining and smoothening the implementation of the Act.
The committee will report back to the IPOD Council within a period of ten day to unveil its findings.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, IPOD Council Chair also DP Secretary General Dr Gerald Siranda said it is within the mandate of government to make sure that all players thrive within the multiparty democracy and that is why they opted to jointly come out with proper regulations of the act.
“The regulations should help us know the exact people we must notify or get permission from for our activities. In the current situation, every person who has some authority can refuse you to hold a meeting. We are trying to deal with impunity that has existed so that we get sanity,” noted Dr Siranda.
“POMA has a section that talks about the public gathering and notification, police had decided to look at notification as permission, it is not permission, we have agreed that notification is different and the law says that when we notify you in 48 hours, you must report back, police has not been doing that and then from no where they tell you that you cannot hold this meeting.”
Leader of Opposition welcomes move
Leader of Opposition in Parliament Betty Aol Ochan said regulating the Public Order Management Act will help in solving the problems orchestrated by state agents such as police.
“Government should give opposition members freedom to do things, what we want is freedom. As long as we are not stepping on anybody’s toes why should you really run after us and block us from undertaking our activities all the time. We want government to clearly tell us what is lawful and what is unlawful. If am doing unlawful things take me to court instead of brutalizing me,” said Ochan.
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