The petitioners contend that POMA has threatened and affected the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms of expression.

Activists ask court to nullify POMA

Grace Mark Tusuubira (R), Cissy Ssempa (Second right) and others filing a petition seeking to scrap the Public Order Management Act from the Law books at the Constitutional Court on November 27, 2020. Photos by Michael Odeng

The petitioners contend that POMA has threatened and affected the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms of expression.

COURT|POLICE|RIGHTS

KAMPALA – Activists have petitioned the Constitutional Court, seeking removal of the 2013 Public Order Management Act, (POMA) from Uganda’s Law books, contending that it violates human rights.

Three human rights lawyers under their umbrella body, Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) filed the petition against the Attorney General, who is the chief legal adviser of government, in the Constitutional Court, on Friday (November 27, 2020).

The lawyers are Grace Mark Tusubira, James Nkuubi, and Cissy Nabatanzi Ssempa.

The trio argues that much as the Constitutional Court nullified some provisions of POMA, they want the entire act that gives police powers to regulate cultural, social, and political gatherings to be removed from the law books in public interest.

The petitioners say the petition is timely in the current political season given that Police has already blocked some election candidates from addressing gatherings while hiding under POMA and enforcing Ministry of Health guidelines on pandemic.    

Activists ask court to nullify POMA
(L-R) Activists Ssempa, Tusuubira, and Gloria Nagami seeking removal of the 2013 Public Order Management Act.

“Unless the entire act is scrapped off from the law books, the police will continue to infringe on the citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and assembly even after we have overcome ,” Tusubira claims.

The petitioners contend that POMA has threatened and affected the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms of expression, assembly, and association by giving police excessive powers to prohibit public gatherings and protest.

“Police notification formalities and processes before convening an assembly are burdensome restrictions on individual capacity to exercise their fundamental human rights,” Tusubira asserts.

Court documents indicate that Parliament passed POMA and President assented to it on October 2, 2013.

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