Civil Society activists have petitioned Parliament calling for an urgent review of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) whose current state threatens the participation of women in national politics.
The activists, under the umbrella of the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), in a petition delivered to the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga on Friday, 30th October 2015 accused the Uganda Police Force of committing acts of brutality that have scared many women from actively participating in politics.
Former legislator and Ethics Minister, Hon. Miria Matembe, said the current actions of security forces will grossly affect the Women’s Movement.
“It seems to me members of the Women’s’ Movement have withdrawn because of the nature of the political environment. They cannot exercise their right to association and the right to belong most especially those in the opposition. We appeal to Parliament that as they pass laws, they are mindful of how they will affect society,” Matembe stressed.
The women also called for a Commission of Inquiry to investigate cases of abuse and brutality by security forces.
The petitioners decried the recent increase in nomination fees especially for candidates running as Members of Parliament to Shs.3 million.
They told the Speaker that the majority of the youth and upcoming politicians would not be able to vie for elections since they cannot afford the exorbitant costs.
UWONET appealed to the Parliament to intervene and review the charges levied by the Kampala Capital City Authority for pinning up posters in Kampala City.
KCCA allegedly announced that candidates will be charged Shs.500 for each poster per day.
Speaker Kadaga in her remarks expressed concern over the commercialization of the electoral process most especially the costs of nomination.
“Unfortunately the cost of nomination is really high. It therefore has an impact on the right to contest for public office. These bills were tabled in Parliament at the wrong time when everyone was thinking about elections,” she noted.
Kadaga also expressed concern over acts of violence exhibited in the recent NRM party primaries across the country. She called for tolerance as Ugandans prepare for national elections next year.
“As Parliament we are equally concerned. The role of the Police is to facilitate public gatherings. It can’t be a government policy to unleash brutality on its people. We agreed as a country to return to multiparty politics and this system calls for tolerance. I will speak to the Inspector General of Police over the management of public gatherings,” the Speaker noted.
She confirmed that Parliament will debate a report from the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the actions of the Police, once legislators return from the recess.