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FDC MPs protest dispersal of party rallies by police

Some of the Parliamentary leaders of opposition Semujju Nganda Betty Ochan and Betty Nambooze addressing the media. (PHOTO FILE)

KAMPALA – A section of lawmakers from leading Opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) have lashed out at the police for foiling their party rallies, with some calling for an evaluation of the controversial Public Order Management Act 2013.

Formulated by former Premier, Mr. Amama Mbabazi and signed by President Yoweri Museveni in October 2013, government defended the enactment of the law saying it was aimed at providing regulations for public meetings to provide for duties and responsibilities of police, organisers, participants as well as prescribe measures for safeguarding public order.

However, for long, members of the Opposition have faulted police for violating sections of the law and accused the Force of cracking down on rallies by FDC President Patrick Amuriat and former party flag bearer Dr. Kiiza Besigye across the country, with the most recent one was the siege on a radio station in Jinja where Mr. Besigye was hosted on a talk show over the weekend.

Addressing a press conference at Parliament in Kampala on Monday, April 15, MPs including Mr. Fred Turyamuheza (Rujumbura County) Mr. Francis Mwijukye (Buhweju County) Mr. Roland Mugume (Rukungiri Municipality) as well as Mr. Joseph Sewungu (Kalungu West) called for evaluation on how police has been implementing the law.

The lawmakers have vowed to take on the police and human rights organs is within the country for sleeping on the job while democratic space in the country is shrinking.

Mr. Mwijukye said: “The party president is meeting executive members of districts, sub-counties or constituencies, police are saying you must produce a letter from the IGP and yet the law is clear that such meetings of recruitment aren’t defined in this law as public meetings. We are saying that police is abusing this law.”

Mr. Ssewungu said there is need to have the Public Order Management Act reviewed in the bid to foster a leveled political playing field arguing that failure to carry out an evaluation will lay fertile ground for Police to deliberately attack the country’s political space under the guise of implementing the law.

“We shall not allow this, we are going to fight it but I think it is high time as MPs we carry out evaluation on how the Public Order Management Act has been handled and find out what has happened,” Mr. Ssewungu said.

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