Public Order Management Act: A cloud hovering over 2021 elections

Blocked. Police arrest a People Power supporter as its leader Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, was blocked from holding consultative meetings in Wakiso District last month. FILE PHOTOS

What you need to know:

  • Road to 2021. More than 10 years after Uganda returned to a multiparty dispensation, it would appear that the NRM is still operating under Article 269 mode that barred parties from engaging in any activities. Parties are not free to operate as they should and even elected MPs aligned to the Opposition are often barred from addressing gatherings in their own constituencies.

In June last year, the Constitutional Court declared Section 36 of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) unconstitutional. It meant that the police no longer had the power to disperse public gatherings, but the Force has continued to fire tear gas and live ammunition as it disrupts public rallies and consultative meetings around the country.
Now with less than a year to the 2021 general election, POMA is hovering like a dark cloud over the election as it remains that one tool that the police are using to disrupt Opposition activities. That is casting serious doubts about the possibility of a credible, free and fair election.

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