KAMPALA – Three legal practitioners have asked the Constitutional Court to declare the Public Order Management Act (POMA) unconstitutional.
The petitioners James Nkuubi, Cissy Nabatanzi Ssempa and Grace Mark Tusubira, under the Network for Public Interest Lawyers (NETPIL) want the Court of Appeal to scrap off six articles spelt out in POMA which they say conflict with article 29 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda.
Cissy Nabatanzi Ssempa, one of the petitioners says police and government are using the POMA to prevent people from enjoying their rights to associate and assemble.
She says while the COVID-19 guidelines are also used to deter people from enjoyment of their rights, when COVID-19 is prevailed over, people should be able to hold demonstrations and assemble but it is illegal and uncalled for to exist in Uganda.
Grace Mark Tusubira, says that some sections of the POMA have already been repelled by court after finding that they lead to the abuse of fundamental human rights and freedoms of Ugandans.
The Constitutional Court in two cases scrapped sections of the POMA. The cases are Muwanga Kivumbi versus Attorney General where section 32 was scrapped and the Human Rights Network – Uganda (HURINET) versus Attorney General where section 8 was scrapped.
The POMA sections being petitioned against are 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 which violate the constitutional provisions of freedom of expression, assembly and association in the 1995 constitution of Uganda.
The sections detail the meaning of a public meeting, notice of public meeting, notification of the authorized officer, spontaneous public meetings, duties of the police, the responsibilities of organizers and participants.
In sections (a), (d) and (e) of article 29 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda provides freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media, freedom to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully and unarmed and to petition, and freedom of association which shall include the freedom to form and join associations or unions, including trade unions and political and other civic organizations.