The Uganda Police has today announced that they are moving to appeal against the Constitutional Court’s decision to annul the Public Order Management Act (POMA)
During the weekly press briefing, Police spokesperson Fred Enanga revealed that a task team led by the Director Legal and Human Rights Services is working with the Attorney General, to appeal against the ruling.
“We would like to inform the public that the police as a law-abiding institution, welcomed the ruling by the Constitutional Court of Uganda, that annulled section 8 of the Public Order Management Act, 2013. The section gave discretionary powers to the police, to stop or prevent the holding of a public meeting, where the public meeting is held contrary to the Act,” reads a statement by the police.
In a 4 – 1 decision, the court ruled on March 26, 2020, that the entire law was inconsistent with the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. The court, however, struck down section 8 of the law for having the unconstitutional effect thereby rendering the entire law impotent.
Hon. Justice Cheborion Barishaki, JA/JCC ruled that the provisions of the POMA do not pass the test set out under Article 43(2)(c) of the 1995 Constitution which requires that any limitation of rights and freedoms must be acceptable and demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society.
Justice Barishaki said, “The police have absolutely no authority to stop the holding of public gatherings on grounds of alleged possible breach of peace if such gatherings are allowed to proceed. The police’s duty is to regulate the holding of public gatherings and to ensure there is no breach of peace… The attention of the police must be directed at the individual’s causing the breach of peace.”
Justice Kenneth Kakuru, “The police, however, have not stopped any assemblies, processions or gatherings that are sanctioned by government or the Ruling Party. In this regard, therefore, I find that the effect of this law (POMA) is to stifle political dissent,”