INTERVIEW: EU Envoy Proposes Amends in Public Order Law, Quick Electoral Reforms

EU Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Kristian Schmidt

The Head of the European Union Mission in Uganda Ambassador Kristian Schmidt has told ChimpReports in an exclusive interview that it is imperative that government amends the Public Order Management Act (POMA). Further clarity on the enforcement of the law he says could help solve the skewed interpretation on the part of government as well as that of the opposition.

Opposition parties vehemently castigated government soon after the Act was enacted in 2015 claiming it was tailored to suppress their fundamental rights of assembly.

At numerous occasions, viagra former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye has clashed with the police stopping him from addressing events.

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Police has always accused Besigye of acting in violation of the law saying proper channels which involve securing permission from police weren’t followed.

“As the EU, web we think that the Public Order Management Act requires further clarification. If you look back at the election period, story a lot of the clashes between police, candidates and their followers resulted from the disagreement on how to implement POMA,” Ambassador Schmidt told ChimpReports on Tuesday.

He said that while under normal circumstances, such grey areas are well spelt out in the implementing guidelines of any law, “there’s no such guidelines for POMA”.

“Even what we see today, is still that the police is acting according to its interpretation of what their powers are while the others (opposition) also act according to what they think are their constitutional rights are.”

He added; “It is an unhealthy uncertainty because if in such a period of relative peace it (the law) still creates this bickering, then what will happen when another election comes?”

We also asked Ambassador Schmidt his views on the FDC ran ‘Defiance campaign’ and the idea that Besigye intends to run a parallel ‘government of the people’ as ‘President’.

“We advocate for rule of law and support the existing institutions. That’s how democracy survives through various leaders. The institutions are the guarantees of your rights. And it’s dangerous to undermine existing institutions,” but added that some of the institutions lack credibility. Besigye, he says, has in his previous discussions with the EU “assured us that he doesn’t support the use of violence.”

He cited the Electoral Commission which he said was found by the EU election observers to have fallen short of what was expected of it by the populace. Ambassador Schmidt thinks there should be an engagement between political players on fixing the structural bottlenecks.

“It is time for opposition and the government to sit and agree on the rules of the game and how to strengthen the role of the Electoral Commission. When the next election comes, the issue should no longer be about whether the institution is credible but who has the best track record and is capable to lead Uganda.”

During the interview, the diplomat reiterated that fixing the existing institutional inefficiencies is not in the interest of the international community but rather Uganda and its citizens.


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