Members of the public seeking to hold public meetings will have to notify the police within three days.
By Henry Sekanjako and Mary Karugaba
Members of the public seeking to hold public meetings will have to notify the police within three days before they can be allowed to go on with the meetings or demonstrations.
The development comes as Parliament debates the controversial Public Order Management Bill 2011.
According to clause 7 of the Bill, an organizer shall give notice in writing to the Inspector General of Police of the intention to hold a public meeting, at least seven days but not more than fifteen days before the proposed date of a public meeting.
However, during the debate, MPs adopted an amendment which calls for a three days’ notice to police as opposed to the seven days proposed in the Bill.
The House unanimously voted in favour of an amendment moved by Koboko woman MP Margaret Babadiri (NRM).
“We should make it three days to allow the police enough time to prepare. However, where the issue is urgent, the police should respond immediately,” Babadiri proposed.
The opposition had proposed a one-day police notice arguing that some issues are urgent to require three days’ notice.
“The three days will help us organize security and order for these public meetings. Please understand us in that context,” state minister for internal affairs, James Baba, said.
Parliament also adopted an amendment allowing the Inspector General of Police to authorize any officer to issue permission for a public meeting on his behalf.
The House spent close to an hour trying to define public meetings.
The Bill which seeks to regulate public meetings and use of public address systems, has however, been widely criticized by both human rights activists and political organizations saying it infringes on human rights and it’s a replica of the already existing laws.
Public Order Management Bill amended