THE STATE OF THE RULE OF LAW

The 1995 Constitution of Uganda (in Chapter four) provides for the respect of fundamental hu-man rights and freedoms. There are other provisions in the laws of Uganda that call for the protection of human rights such as the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012. On the 13th Februar2019, Uganda Police Force launched a Human Rights Policy that aims at promoting democratic, accountable and human rights sensitive policing in the country.

Cases of human right infringements in Uganda

Despite the aforementioned commitments and provisions, the violation of human rights in Uganda has remained at its zenith. Just in the last three years, there have been a number of scenarios that clearly portray a lugubrious status quo as far the respect of human rights is concerned. They pose to us a question of whether the laws are not well interpreted or if there are deliberate syndicates in the legal system to curtail some peoples rights.

Presently, the enjoy-ment of the freedom of association and facing an arbitrary dentetion are in balance to the ex-tent that even a mere thought to hold a peaceful gathering can cause arrests. Whereas the Constitution and the International Covenants that Uganda ratified call for the respect of free-doms such as; to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully and unarmed and to petition, the Public Order ManagemenAct 2013  (POMA) dissimilarly provides for the regulation of public meetings. The Act defines a meeting as a gathering, assembly, procession or demonstration in a public place or premises held for the purposes of discussing, acting upon,  petitioning  or  expressing  views  on  a matter of public interest.” Section 8 of this Act gives the Police a wide range of powers to prevent and stop public meetings and gatherings  to take place. On several occasions, some public gatherings have been cancelled by the Police Force while others of the same kind are endorsed. It should be remembered that Section 5 of POMA requires the organizers to notify the authorized officer for the intention of the public meeting but not asking for permission, and Section 9 calls upon the Police to ensure fairness and equal treatment of all parties by giving consistent responses to the organizers of public meetings. How the law is interpreted  in some instances however remains sardonic