The announcement Uganda Police Force made that they have arrested 56 people for allegedly holding illegal meetings under the deeply-flawed Public Order Management Act (POMA), Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, had a huge brain to put across and cautioned for an immediate release of the suspects.
“The Ugandan police are no strangers to making arrests in utter disregard for constitutionally-guaranteed rights, but this most recent case is patently absurd. These 56 individuals are guilty of nothing more than attending a peaceful meeting. They should be released immediately and unconditionally.” Muthoni Wanyeki ordered.
“The Public Order Management Act is deeply flawed and has previously been used by the police to crack down on the opposition and civil society. This latest mass arrest is no exception.” She added.
The UPF did not specify what these individuals were discussing, but opposition activists say the arrests are linked to ongoing attempts to drop age limits from the constitution and allow President Yoweri Museveni, 72, to run for a sixth term in 2021. The current age limit to run for president is 75 years.