Central Baddibu NAM, Sulayman Saho, has said the private bill he intends to bring to the National Assembly is meant to remove the undemocratic clauses in the Public Order Act which were put there to curtail the freedoms of citizens who want to hold processions to manifest their grievances.
Speaking to The Standard yesterday, Saho said the amendment seeks to remove sweeping and unchecked powers given to the police to refuse or permit protests or public procession at their will. “My bill is in tandem with what obtains in all democratic countries where power belongs to the citizens and not the police or other bodies,” he said.
He added that those who conceived it to be calling for a free hand for people to protest are deliberately distorting the real objective of the bill just for cheap politics.
“Everyone knows that the Public Order Act itself has been the subject of much concern to human rights defenders because of the potential to abuse it by undemocratic governments wanting to suppress citizens’ liberties. Also, it was designed by the colonial power to suppress us. How can we now in turn maintain it just to suppress our own fellow citizens?” he asked.
Hon. Saho urged his colleagues in the House to put on a progressive cap and support the bill which is in line with all decent systems in the progressive world. “All what it’s calling is for the police to be notified about procession marches so that they can provide security to ensure that they are peaceful,” he concluded.