UPND Katombora Member of Parliament Clement Andeleki has welcomed President Hakainde Hichilema’s pronouncement on the review of the Public Order Act (POA).
Mr Andeleki has charged that apart from being a colonial law, the public order act is also a bad law.
Commenting on President’s ceremonial opening of the first session of the 13th National Assembly on yesterday, Mr Andeleki said that the statement by the President is inspiring and will be supported by parliament as it starts sitting next Tuesday.
“The President was speaking like he is a Messiah who has just come into Zambia. The Public Order Act has been a very thorny piece of legislation,” he said.
Mr Andeleki said that the history behind the public Order Act is that it is a colonial legislation that was used by the colonial masters to regulate the exchange of information by the people in Northern Rhodesia and the region at large.
“Therefore, when UNIP came into power in 1964, you will recall that we lived under the state of emergency and they used the Public Order Act for political gains to try and restrict gatherings and enforce the one party state which was declared under the Chona Commission,” he said.
“Therefore, the Public Order Act has been used as a political tool to oppress and curtail divergent views in Zambia and this law has been used up to the time we saw in the MMD government. It is a very controversial law.
I will take you to the issue of Mulundika versus the people, resident doctors versus the artoney general. It is a good law in view that it infringes on the rights of the people particularly, freedom of assembly,” Mr Andeleki said.
“….What it means is that the pronouncement by President Hakainde is that it is a landmark because once the Public Order Act is reviewed, it will respect human rights and the rule of law….and I want to congratulate the President for such an address and it is very touching to the soul and very impressive to democracy,” he said.
He added, “we need to reflect on the issue of human rights.”
The Katombora lawmaker recalled how the Public Order Act was being used during the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s regime saying that it was being used to oppress the opposition.
“We were living under state of emergency and we want to thank the President and we are there as Members of Parliament to ensure that we facilitate the amendments that are required in the Public Order Act and if it means repealing it, we will be very happy to do so,” he said.