Civil liberties and national security in Uganda
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The study examines the delicate equilibrium involved in observance of civil liberties and provision of national security. Despite being a constitutional right, civil liberties may threaten national security. This study was guided by the objective of examining the disequilibrium state of balancing civil liberties and national security through exploring ways of how government can balance civil liberties and protect national security. The study is based on review of existing literature and analysis of the Ugandan context. Civil liberties are a constitutional right in Uganda and the government is under obligation to protect and respect them. However, the study findings revealed that civil liberties may also affect national security in different ways. The right to liberty has at times been used as a pretext to engage in activities that has led to chaos in Uganda’s urban centers. Consequently, the government of Uganda has been pushed to institute some laws to control and limit civil liberties in order to protect national security. However, there are a number of challenges making it difficult to strike a balance between civil liberties and national security including the high secrecy in government coupled with increased technology that make it easy for information access and the constitutional guarantee of freedoms and civil liberties that is always based on whenever demonstrators are arrested. The study concluded that observance of civil liberties is still a challenge to the government given that it is at times considered to be a threat to national security. Although the has put in place democratic institutions to protect civil liberties in the country as advocated for by the civil libertarian theory, the system established to promote civil liberties have at times threatened national security resulting into the adoption of more of the classical utilitarian approach by the government. . Based on this, the study as required has suggested a number of recommendation to improve the situation since national security is a prerequisite to the well-being of all other institutional activities as well as civil liberties that are also an obligation of the government to observe and protect. The study recommended that government should consider constructing institutional reforms in line with the proper handling of national security issues; set new rules to limit civil liberties; and define the spheres of national security in relation to the constitution instead of formulating new laws and regulations that are parallel with the constitution to justify their actions regarding the abuse of civil liberties among other.