Human rights activists warn Police against implementing stringent

 After President Yoweri Museveni’s signature of the stricter Public
Order management Act, human rights activists have come out to caution
police against implementation, on justification that it violates
peoples’ Rights.

A caution to police comes from eight human rights Non government
Organizations (NGOs) ON top of passing a resolution to take a legal
action to challenge its contentious clauses.

These human rights activists are led by the Human Rights Network
Uganda headed by Mohammed Ndifuna, who is also Chief Executive
Officer.

 “We caution the Uganda Police officers not to take this Act as a
poetic license to violate all rights and freedoms as they want because
indeed there other laws that they may have to deal with if they act in
excesses” said Ndifuna while speaking to the Unwanted Witness Uganda.

He maintains that “Police should be sensitive to principles of
accountability and professionalisms in respect to human Rights”.

Ndifuna, who said that Uganda Police are given immense powers in the
current law, also cautioned government not to go overboard by
sanctioning the clauses embedded in the law which are against human
rights as well as the international Human Rights conventions signed by
Uganda government.

He also reminded police officers about the other existing legislations
such as the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act 2012, which
holds them personally liable for any for criminal acts committed
against Ugandans.

 Ndifuuna adds that although activists and other responsible citizens
condemned some of the clauses, they were finally smuggled into the
law.

“we are heading to the call that is inherit in the constitution itself
that citizens must protect the constitution, so our interpretation of
this, is that we can do something under the ambit of law and this why
we are taking this POMA for constitutional court interpretation,
hopeful some of the obnoxious provisions will be struck” Ndifuna said.

Other groups which joined HURINET to gang up against the Public Order
Management act are, Centre for Constitutional Governance, Commonwealth
Human Rights Initiative, The Uganda Women’s Network, Legal Brain, the
Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA) among others.

Activists stress that the current law is against the constitution,
citing clause 8 of which they say, re-introduces section 32 of the
Police Act which was declared unconstitutional by the constitutional
in the case of Muwanga Kivumbi Vs Attorney General and thus according
to Ndifuna is “a clear undermining of the Independence of the
Judiciary”

They also contend that limitation venues where rallies are supposed to
be hosted from, also violates freedoms such as freedom of speech,
expression, thought and belief, assembly and association are
unjustifiable in a democratic society, which is against constitutional
Article 29 (1) (a) (b) (c) (d) and (e) of the constitution that
provides for the rights mentioned above.

Reached for a comment, internal Affairs Minister General Aronda
Nyakayirima,gave them a green right, saying that “Whoever is
contesting the Public Order Management Law is free to go to court”
Aronda told Unwanted Witness Uganda, at Parliament, on Thursday.

The minister, whose docket includes police, said the relevant
government agencies are ready to implement the Public Order Management
Law because it went through all the necessary processes and procedures
of Parliament before it was passed.

“They (activists) can only go to court, it is already law, it was
sufficiently debated in Parliament, it was passed and it is a good law
to manage our society as people assemble and where they assemble, and
who should do what?. So it is a good law” Aronda said.

solomon@unwantedwitness.com

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