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As you are all aware, the constitutional court, nullified sections 5(b), 10 (3) and 4 of the Public Order Management Act, after they were established to be inconsistent with Article 29 of the 1995 Constitution. Although these sections were nullified, we would like to inform, the public that there are other existing laws under the Penal Code Act, that do regulate unlawful Assemblies, riots and other offences against public tranquility. In addition, section 5 of the Public Order Management Act, which, basically provides for organisers of a public meeting to notify police, 3 days before the date of the meeting is to convene, is still in existence. Therefore, all organsiers of assemblies and processions, should know that although its their fundamental right to peacefully assembly, they also have a duty to inform the police about the date and time of their public meetings, details of the organisers, location and consent of the venue owner, the number of persons expected, purpose and any other basic information, justified to ensure the smooth conduct of the public meeting.

The organisers also have a duty to adhere to the criterial of holding public meetings ie have a traffic assembly plan, provide sufficient stewards proportionate to the number of participants in the public meeting with clearly name tags, coordinate and cooperate with the police to maintain peace and order. For instance Section 65 of the Penal Code Act (PCA) gives the definition of an unlawful assembly and riot

(1) When three of more persons assemble with intent to carry out some common purpose, conduct themselves in such a manner as to cause persons in the neighborhood reasonably to fear that the persons so assembled, will commit a breach of the peace or will by such assembly needlessly and without any reasonable occasion provide other persons to commit a breach of the peace, they are an unlawful assembly. The punishment for unlawful assembly is a misdemeanor and liable for imprisonment for one year.

(2) It is immaterial that the original assembling was lawful if, being assembled, they conduct themselves with a common purpose in the manner described in subsection (4).

(3) When an unlawful assembly has begun to execute the purpose for which it assembled by a breach of peace and to the terror of the public, the assembly is called a riot, and the persons. The punishment for riot is a misdemeanor.

Section 68 of the Penal Code Act (PCA) provides for a proclamation for rioters to disperse, whereby any magistrate or, in his or her absence, any police officer of or above the rank of Inspector, or any commissioned officer in the armed forces of Uganda, in whose view 12 or more persons are riotously assembled, or who apprehends that a riot is about to be committed by 12 or more persons assembled within his or her view, may make or cause to be made a proclamation in the Presidents name, in such forms as he or she thinks fit, commanding the rioters or persons so assembled to disperse peacefully.

In addition, any person who forcefully prevents or obstructs any person making a proclamation under section 68, of the Penal Code Act commits a felony under section 71, and is liable to imprisonment for 10 years; and if the making of the proclamation is so prevented, every person who knowing that it has been so prevented takes or continues to take part in the riot or assembly is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

It’s also important to note that, section 70 of the Penal Code Act, sanction rioting after proclamation, whereby if a proclamation is made commanding the persons engaged in a riot or assembled with the purpose of committing a riot to disperse, every person who, at or after the expiration of a reasonable time from the making of the proclamation, takes or continues to take part in the riot or assembly, commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

Section 69 of the Penal Code Act, provides for the dispersal of rioters where, if upon the expiration of a reasonable time after the proclamation is made or after the making of the proclamation has been prevented by force, 12 or more persons continue to make the proclamation, or any police officer or any other person acting in aid of that person or police officer, may do all things necessary for dispersing the persons so continuing assembled or for apprehending them or any of them, and if any person makes resistance, may use all such force as is reasonably necessary for overcoming such resistance and shall not be liable in any criminal or civil proceeding for having by the use of such force caused harm or death to any person.

Under the Roads Act, section 63 penalizes any person who;

a. Destroys, pulls up, defaces, road furniture, dams, bridges or pavements.

b. Litters a public road

c. Spills oil on a public road, bridge ferry or ponton that can damage the public road, bridge, ferry or pontoon, commits an offence and is liable on conviction, to a fine not exceeding one hundred twenty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or both.

Section 64 1(c) of the Roads Act, penalizes obstruction, on roads whereby, broken bottles, solid waste, garbage, bricks, sand, nails, lime, dung or rubbish on a public road, and allows the same to remain on the public road except for purposes of implementation of any provision of this Act; commits an offence and is liable on conviction, to a fine not exceeding 24 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.

In addition, under section 64 (2), the cost of removing any obstruction or dam and of repairing any damage caused by actions referred to under sub section (1), shall be recovered by the relevant road authority from the person causing the obstruction.

Meanwhile, section 67 of the Roads Act sanctions, nuisance on roads where, any person who, on any public road

1) Makes or causes noise pollution

2) Plays any game to the annoyance or danger of persons using the public road

3) Pitches any tent, both or stall without the permission of a road authority or

4) Places himself or herself in a road in such a manner as to cause danger or inconvenience to traffic,

Commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 24 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding, one year or both.

We are aware of individuals and political groups that are ready to defy these remaining provisions of the POMA, Penal Code Act, and the Road Act will take advantage of the right to peacefully assemble to breach peace and cause havoc, disorder, lawlessness and impunity in major cities and towns.

We have plans to place on how to respond in a discriminate manner, targeting the ring leaders, instigators of violence and perpetrators of these unlawful assemblies, to purposely ensure that the rights of the majority of other Ugandans to life, liberty and property are not deprived by a group of self-seeking activities.




SCP Enanga Fred

Police Spokesperson

20th March 2023




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