Government is in preparations to appeal against a court ruling that Police have no powers over public gatherings

The Constitutional Court last week annulled section 8 of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) when it ruled that police have no powers to stop or disperse public gatherings in a majority decision of 4:1.

Addressing journalists on Monday, Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said the Police’s Legal and Human Rights Director 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 Police 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,” Enanga said.

“A task team led by the Director Legal and Human Rights Services is working with the Attorney General, to appeal against the ruling.”

In the ruling, the judges argued that there is no evidence to prove that public gatherings sabotage economic growth by disrupting businesses as had been argued by the government.

They argued that the government has in the past used demonstrations or public gatherings to publicize its own programs.

“Nonetheless, none of those public gatherings resulted into violence nor did they disrupt businesses, commerce or public order beyond what is demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society,” Justice Kenneth Kakuru argued.

“The point is that in a democratic society, one cannot choose and pick. It is a whole package and everything goes together. Any attempt to remove one component destroys the other.”

Source. NP

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