The Public Order Management Bill which is likely to be passed by Uganda’s parliament tomorrow represents a serious blow to open political debate in the country, Amnesty International said today.
The Bill imposes wide ranging restrictions on public meetings and gives the police unprecedented powers to prohibit and disperse public gatherings of a political nature.
In its current form, for example, the Bill gives the police discretionary powers to prevent a gathering of as few as three people in a public place to discuss political issues.
“This Bill represents a serious blow to open political debate in a country where publicly criticizing the government is already fraught with risk,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s deputy Africa director.
“The Ugandan government must stop trying to crush the rights to free speech and peaceful demonstration as enshrined in its own constitution as well as international law.”