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PUBLIC ORDER ACT IS NOT A PROBLEM BUT LEADERSHIP OF THE MOMENT

Dear Editor,

I UNDERSTAND that my fellow leaders who held a press briefing at Sun Hotel on Monday morning have been summoned by the Police, allegedly for holding a meeting without a Police permit, or is it for not notifying the Police? 

It appears the reasons for the summons are not clear. Whatever the case, we hope the summons, will not lead to arbitrary arrests, detentions etc. 

As we have said time and time again, President Hakainde Hichilema has a golden opportunity to heal the ugly scars of disunity in the nation, if and only if his subordinate officers exercise maximum restraint on non-violent political attacks, and he himself be on top of things if there is mischief by his officers in that regard. 

I am aware that he has made several pronouncements ona freedom of speech and unity in the nation. But lovely words without any action are as good as useless rhetorics. So, he should not run the risk of being classified as a good for nothing person, by walking his talk.

I have heard some of colleagues blaming the Public Order Act, and advocating for its repeal. Personally, I do not think that the POA has a problem. The Act is just a piece of paper which on its own cannot cause any harm to any person, provided no evil person moves in to reign terror by purporting to enforce the Act. 

Even if the POA was repealed in totality, provided there will still be evil persons in leadership or Police, who are hell bent to reign terror, they will still identify, and use other laws to inflict pain and suffering on their colleagues.

For example, with regard to the so-called illegal assembly, they may pluck out Section 74 (1) of the Penal Code, which prohibits “three or more persons to assemble with intent to commit an  offence,  or being assembled with intent to carry  out  some  common purpose, conduct themselves in such a manner as to  cause  persons  in  the neighbourhood reasonably  to  fear that the persons so assembled will commit a breach of the peace, or will by such  assembly needlessly and without any reasonable occasion, provoke other persons to commit a breach of the peace, they  are an unlawful assembly.”

In summary, the POA is not a problem but leadership and Police of the moment.

‘ANONYMOUS.

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