How Lukwago's Arrest Exposed the Public Order Management Law


medicine geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The law was signed by HE president Museveni amidst protest from mainly opposition leaders and civil society who scoffed at government for using the police to undermine their rights to demonstration.

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price geneva;”>Government hastened to defend the bill and dismissed all claims of ill-intention noting that it was mainly meant to facilitate guidance and management of public gatherings.

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Internal affairs state minister Hon James Baba, went on to assert that the term ‘regulate’ therein was solely to ensure that the conduct of gatherings conformed with national constitutional provisions.

In what seemed to be the first major test of the law’s operation on Monday, Mayor Lukwago ended up in police confinement, plunging certain sections of Kampala city in violent protests and business paralysis.

Speaking to us on the law operations, FDC president, Gen Mugisha Muntu said that Lukwago’s arrest was an ‘opportunity’ to uncover government’s ill-intentions in the law.

“Of course some Ugandans believed government’s side of the story [that the law was only to regulate gatherings]. That is being exposed now. We believed and indeed told you that the bill once signed would be used as a pretext to suppress people’s rights and freedoms,” Muntu pointed out.

“Others actually didn’t know whom to believe between us and government. Now an opportunity has come and it certainly isn’t the last one.”

He noted that his party, however, would not be deterred by anybody from engaging with the public especially in preparation for the 2016 general elections.

Muntu further dismissed some held perception that the exit by former party president, Col Kiiza Besigye [who was arrested over 50 times in the last 5 years] would limit FDC’s brand of strong civic engagement with the public amidst police restrictive forces.

“This kind of engagements with people will be here for as long as the current regime lasts. Its true we are somehow concentrating on going back to the grassroots, sensitizing the masses and building party branches from down up, but we know for sure that such engagements are equally important. The two approaches are not in conflict,” Muntu reiterated.

Meanwhile, Mayor Erias Lukwago, was arrested from his home in Wakaliga in Kampala and whisked off by police and locked up in a cell at a police station in Mukono.

This move by police sparked off a series of protests that rocked the city and some suburbs for the whole day, yesterday.


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