Government appeals constitutional court ruling on POMA

Thursday April 16 2020
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Attorney General William Byaruhanga. File photo

The Attorney General has filed a notice of appeal challenging the recent Constitutional Court ruling on the Public Order Management Act (POMA). 

The ruling delivered on March 26 nullified section 8 of POMA which gave Police discretionary powers to the Inspector General of Police who in turn can delegate or authorize any other officer to stop or prevent the holding of public meetings. 

“By majority decision of Kakuru, Kiryabwire, Musoke and Barishaki, it is declared and ordered that Section 8 of the Public Order Management Act is unconstitutional, null and good,” ruled the majority justices.

However, in the notice of appeal, the Attorney General says that he is dissatisfied with the Judgement of Cheborion Barishaki, Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Elizabeth Musoke and Justice Kenneth Kakuru.

The Judges were part of the panel that also included Justice Stephen Musota who disagreed with the majority decision.

The Attorney General has written to the Court of Appeal Registrar requiring him to provide proceedings in the judgement to help him formulate grounds of appeal.

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“The purpose of this letter is to request you to provide a certified copy of the record of proceedings and Judgement in the Constitutional Petition number 56 of 2013 to facilitate the conduct of the Appeal”, reads the letter written by Moses Mugisha on behalf of the Attorney General.

Last month , a judgement by four Constitutional Court judges against one nullified section 8 of the POMA citing that it violated the constitutional freedom of assembly and the right to demonstrate peacefully and unarmed.

The judges also argued that parliament had passed the said law in total disregard of article 92 of the constitution which says that they shall not pass any law that may alter any decision or judgement of court.

In their view, the Judges ruled that the said section in the POMA was made clearly as a rebirth of section 32 of the Police Act which had earlier been nullified following the 2008 petition by the Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi.

The Constitutional Court decision stemmed from a successful petition filed on December 10th 2013 by five human rights activists including individuals and Civil Society Organizations.

They included Human Rights Network Uganda, the Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations –DENIVA, the Uganda Association of Female Lawyers FIDA, Member of Parliament Muwanga Kivumbi and Bishop Zac Niringiye.

The petitioners had challenged the constitutionality of various provisions of the POMA Act but they later on June 27th 2016 filed an amended petition on which they only zeroed on section 8 of the same act.

jkigongo@ug.nationmedia.com

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