Uganda’s Parliament Approves Public Order Mangagement Bill Amidst Chaos

Uganda’s parliament has today approved the Public Order Management Bill 2011 which has the contentious Clause eight that orders whoever wishes to hold a public rally or gathering in public places to first seek approval from police.

The Bill requires a written notice of planned meetings to be submitted to police a week in advance, and allows police to block or prevent a public gathering if they deem it a breach of the peace.

Opposition MPs attempted to challenge the passing of the Bill by indicating that the House had two Order Papers to choose from. One of the order papers some MPs had did not indicate the Public Order Management Bill would be would be discussed.

But Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah insisted that order papers can always be changed.

Nandala Mafabi the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, tried to persuade the Speaker about the conflicting order papers in vain.

Amidst a lot of heckling, Speaker then called for voting on the Bill to start.

In the same sitting, the speaker suspended Soroti Woman MP Angeline Osege from the House for three consecutive sittings. She is also barred from accessing parliamentary precincts and committee sittings during that period.

Angeline Osege joins three other MPs who were suspended last week during the debate on the same bill.

Opposition MPs, led by Mafabi, resorted to shouting and chanting, “No way! No way”, just like they did last week. The MPs moved to surround the Parliamentary Mace.

Several opposition MPs, Civil Society Organisations –CSOs and Amnesty International, had cautioned Parliament not to pass the Bill in its current form.

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