IPOD Meeting: Rugunda Passes a Moratorium on Police Management of Political Meetings


Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda (R) and Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Jeje Odongo during the IPOD meeting on Wednesday.
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The Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda has announced a moratorium against the implementation of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) until regulations are in place.

The Prime Minister’s orders follow a meeting on Wednesday between government and Secretaries General of political parties under the Inter-party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD).

Government was represented by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Jejje Odongo while Police was represented by the Head of Legal Services. The political parties were represented by the Secretaries General and members of the IPOD Council.

Rugunda told journalists that the meeting was indeed good with robust discussions about POMA as well as speeding up regulations.

“We have discussed the POMA regulations and the speeding up of the regulations being actualized and implemented. The regulations are now being considered by government and we will take extra steps to ensure that it completes its work and presents the regulations to Parliament for final approval,” Rugunda said.

Rugunda said the other issue discussed were the clashes, misunderstandings and turbulence that has been going on between some actors in the political opposition and the Police over their planned meetings.

“We have all urged the political parties, government and government agencies to make sure that we have a peaceful environment and hold peaceful meetings without clashes; the people want to attend meetings and listen to their leaders without clashes and this is the responsibility of political parties and government agencies that are involved in management of the meetings,” Rugunda said.

Rugunda added that, “We are very convinced that with close cooperation between the political parties and government agencies, there should be no more clashes; as political parties and government, we are saying that there should be a moratorium of having any problems with regards to political meetings in the country.”

The Prime Minister noted that there is already a political road map announced by the Electoral Commission which political parties and government must respect.

The IPOD Council Chairperson and DP Secretary General, Gerald Siranda noted that it was unfortunate that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has continued to shun IPOD meetings without any clear explanation.

“We wanted to interact with the IGP and his deputy to study their body language to find out whether they are in control or not,” Siranda said.

Siranda noted that members were shocked to learn that the Police has also come up with POMA regulations which is so odd since their views are supposed to be captured by the Attorney General.

“Before we go to the summit, we want political parties to be allowed space to mobilize. The NRM Chairman is busy recruiting and making mobilizations across the country and we have not seen any of his meetings stopped.”

“We want to see whether a moratorium that has been declared by Prime Minister is observed, we first want political parties to be left to mobilize, recruit and do their meetings without disruptions and this will give us a lee-way to continue holding meetings.”

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