Members of Parliament have failed to block the consideration of the now controversial Public Order Management Bill.
MPs, mainly from the opposition, had wanted the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to halt debate on the bill citing a constitutional court petition against the Bill.
Butambala MP, Muwanga Kivumbi petitioned the constitutional court asking to stop debate on the Public Order Management.
He said the debate on the Bill in parliament would contradict the constitutional provisions that prevent parliament from enacting laws that turn around court rulings and orders.
Rukiga County MP Jack Sabiti came armed with a letter from the constitutional court and asked Kadaga not to proceed on the matter saying that violates Rule 64 of the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure. The rule stops parliament from debating matters before courts.
Kadaga however said she had not been officially served by Kivumbi’s lawyers or the court.
Deputy Attorney General Freddy Ruhindi agreed there was a petition in court but said the subjudice rule would only come up after Kivumbi’s and Attorney General’s lawyers meet.
The debate on the Bill proceeded after several minutes of standoff on Wednesday. Kadaga then deferred the debate on the Bill after the House failed to agree on several clauses in the Bill.
One of the areas of contention was on a definition of what constitutes a public meeting. The Bill had defined a public meeting as a meeting of up to three persons.
Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi asked for more time until next week for cabinet to agree on some of the contentious clauses of the Bill.
The Bill, among others, requires organisers of public meetings to give a seven day notice to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of their intention to hold a public meeting.
State Minister for Internal Affairs, James Baba however insists it is aimed at prescribing measures for safeguarding public order. He says it is not aimed at compromising the principles of democracy, freedom of association and freedom of speech.