By Faridah Lule
Am I not entitled to something I can call a home in Uganda? This thought kept lingering in my mind the day Col.Dr. Kizza Warren Kifeffe Besigye was again arrested and whisked off to an his unwanted aboard - Nagalama police.
The police force cited the laws under which they arrested the FDC flag bearer on the 15th October 2015 as he was heading to attend the planned FDC party activities . Some of the laws sighted by the force included the Public Order Management Act. The police however conveniently forgot the presidential elections Act, 2005.
The presidential elections Act, section (3) says; an aspirant may consult in preparation for his or her nomination as presidential candidate with in twelve months before the nominationdate, while consulting under subsection 1(a), the aspirant may carry out nationwide consultations prepare his or her manifesto and other campaign materials, raise funds for his or her campaign through lawful means. While consulting, the aspirants shall introduce him or herself to the commission and notify the relevant local council and the police of the area to which he or she goes.
The Public Order Management Act section(8) reads ‘’subject to the direction of the Inspector General of Police ,an authorized officer or any other police officer of or above the rank of inspector, may stop or prevent the holding of a public meeting where the public meeting is held contrary to this act. One of the misconceptions about the law is that one requires police permission to hold a meeting of more than three people.
The former chairman of the Uganda Law Reform Commission Prof. Fredrick Sempebwa holds a different opinion when it comes to the most cited law, the POMA which he says the law is un constitution why because it was passed after a court ruling pronouncing people’s right to assemble, that the people are free to assemble, there is no need for them to beg police to allow them, the role of police is to keep law and order maintain peace and not block assemblies.
According to section 5 of the POMA, an organizer is obliged to give notice in writing to the authorized officer of the intention to hold a public meeting at least three days but not more than 15 days before the proposed date of the public meeting.
Today Dr.Kiiza Besigye might be wondering but very soon the whole country may fall victim of the same convenient misinterpretation of laws. Why can’t our leaders learn from history, those in power are passing laws day and night with or without people’s consent.The implications and reality of the implementation does not cross their mind as they discuss and pass laws.
Those in power, politicians, judges, scholars and the citizens all interpret the laws differently and implementation is also at the discretion of those at the scene.
The un democratic processes are taking the center stage in our political environment. It’s not only the Uganda police force but also the opposition leaders have to pay attention to the internal democracy, otherwise what is happening now the police cells should be expanded to accommodate the large numbers if the situation is not addressed.
The NRM supporters are fighting to the extent of burning people’s houses this is dangerous the leaders have to hide their interest and address the situation. The violent behaviour is caused by the leaders themselves inside the parties, they already made choices and want to impose these candidates by force which is against the people’s will.” Just like O’Rourke puts it, Political discourse has become so rotten that it’s no longer possible to tell the stench of one presidential candidate from the stink of another. I urge all leaders to leave by our motto FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY and NOT BY THEIR STOMACH.