ENCLOSURE OF THE COMMONS BY CONTROLING PUBLIC GATHERINGS

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The move by the government of Uganda to table before parliament the Public Order Management Bill, 2011, can be seen as an enclosure of the commons. If passed into law, the bill will requires the organizers of an assembly, a procession or demonstration to follow strict guidelines and among which includes; notifying the office of the Inspector General of Police in writing at least seven days before the meeting and must be held strictly between 6am-6pm, No use of amplification system except when permitted by the police chief.

The bill has however been protested by the opposition politicians who are looking at it as a measure of enclosing their political liberties by the ruling party as it is aimed at suppressing their activities, gatherings and demonstrations. In early this year, however, the opposition politicians have been involved in a series of demonstrations tagged as “walk to work” over the increasing cost of living in the country especially rise in fuel and commodity prices and reckless government spending, something which is considered to have engineered the government’s move to table the Bill.

Many people who share the ideology of civil liberty in Uganda including civil society organizations and human rights defenders have voiced their concerns as to how this Bill will affect the civil liberties of the citizens. The Bill is also in direct conflict with the Article 21, of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which provides for peaceful assembly without any restrictions. Article 11, of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights also provide for the freedom of assembly and it seems Ugandans may not freely enjoy the provisions in these two documents and yet Uganda is a signatory to both of them.

Public gathering is a very good form of communing through which people can express their grievances on the matters that affects their wellbeing in all arenas i.e socially, politically, economically and some of this concerns seems to be indisputable for example, the protest by Ugandans over the increasing cost living which directly affects the pockets of the poor and hence affecting their well-being. However the form in which public gathering or demonstration takes has to be considered for instance most of this demonstrations always begin as a peaceful one  but later on turn into violence and the end result is always destruction of property, injuries and loss of lives.

In my opinion,  this Bill even if it is passed by the parliament to become Public order Management (POM) Act, will still not help Uganda and may not stop public protests and demonstrations as it is intended. The problem of Uganda is that the economy has struggled to manage its resource allocation whereby only 1% are benefiting and living the 99% suffering simply because the government has given room for corruption and abuse of public office. Secondly, Ugandan population is comprised of young people with a lot of energy but these energetic youths are unemployed and are not engaged into any productive economic activities and since they have nothing to lose, they are always used by the opposition politicians to stage a protest.

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One Response to “ENCLOSURE OF THE COMMONS BY CONTROLING PUBLIC GATHERINGS”

  1. ngoziokei Says:

    The civil society organisations, Human rights defenders, The United Nations lnternational convent on civil and political Rights and the Africa charter on human and people’s Rights, with all this different institutions, which all hands should be on desk, making sure that the Uganda government carries out a transparent functioning democractic government, a honest/truthful political system, economic growth and social wellbeing of the citizens of Uganda and their livelihoods. This must not be distroyed, so that Uganda as a country, will have a global developmental growth, culture, trade and social equality between the commons. The corrupt government officials should be interrogated and imprisoned for embellziling office funds, into their pockets. Employment should be created for the people,especially the youths, who have graduated but no work. youths should not be used as a stage protest for the sake of the future of the Uganda generations. Furthermore, the farmers should be encouraged by land incentives/high technology machines and equipments supplied to them. Also involvement of the commons values/decisions of their lives/livelihood and situations affecting them, should be considered/addressed by the Ugadan government. All these measures should be taken into considerations in Uganda’s government policies.

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