The National Unity Platform (NUP) Party President Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, has embarrassed himself during an online interview with a British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) reporter live on line, where he misinterpreted the constitution by claiming that Uganda has no laws in effect for holding public protests.
According to Bobi Wine, Uganda, as a country, does not have any laws that prevent peaceful and nonviolent protests. He alleges that anyone is free to carry out protests without seeking permission from relevant authorities.
“According to our law, we don’t need permission; we are given permission by the constitution to protest and demonstrate non-violently and unarmed,” Bobi Wine said.
Bobi Wine made these remarks while being interviewed by a BBC reporter concerning the protests he and his party members engaged in during the NAM and G77 summits that have just ended in the country.
“Did you get a permit? Did you have authority to carry out the protest? And why not have these protests next week when the Kampala business team does not have to deal with a conference or conferences that shut down the road and also protests?” the BBC reporter questioned.
The BBC reporter challenged Bobi Wine over his remarks and insisted that he has never heard of any country in the world that does not have laws governing protests.
However, Bobi Wine insisted that there are no laws that pertain to protesting and that anyone can protest anywhere and at any time.
The constitution of Uganda, under the 1995 constitution, contains the Public Order Management Act, which is the primary governing legislation on assemblies in Uganda. There is a notification regime under the Act that requires that notification be made at least 3 days in advance under Section 5 of the Act.
“Section 6(1) permits the government to refuse permission to hold a proposed public meeting because of another public meeting on the same date,” part of the Constitution’s 2013 Public Order Management Act states.
In accordance with Section 32 of the Police Act, police foiled the planned demonstrations, citing a lack of clearance from the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola, and a history of violence that always ensued during the protests.
Bobi Wine failed to interpret the law and went ahead to confuse the BBC reporter and the public with his misinterpretation of the Ugandan constitution. The NUP leader recently come under criticism from followers who have recognised that he does not understand the law or governance, making him vastly unpopular.