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…the association is deeply concerned that the UPND in government has continued stifling citizen’s rights, freedom of assembly using an archaic law

…the association is deeply concerned that the UPND in government has continued stifling citizen’s rights, freedom of assembly using an archaic law


THE Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) is deeply disappointed with the UPND government which has continued to abuse the archaic Public Order Act (POA) to stifle citizens’ rights and freedoms after promising it would end such kind of cruelty.

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Langisani Zulu, the LAZ president says it is saddening that the UPND in government has continued to abuse f the archaic POA to stifle citizens’ constitutionally guaranteed human rights of association, assembly and expression.

In a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Zulu said with the ushering of the UPND into government, LAZ like many citizens had hoped the abuse of the provisions of the POA experienced under previous governments would come to an end but regrettably, little had changed under the leadership that had promised to govern the country according to the rule of law. He said the latest episode which saw Zambians witnessing the Police denying the PF’s request to hold a political rally was the manifestation of the UPND government propensity to violate the rights and freedoms of citizens using an outdated and colonial law.

Mr Zulu said the Zambia police had cited the old excuse of security reasons in foiling the PF mass political gathering on the basis that they did not have enough numbers of officers to police the event, but strangely, were able to mobilise more numbers to prevent the holding of the political rally.

Mr Zulu said having suffered the same tactics under previous administrations, it was hoped the new government would correct the past abuse of the Police Service to curtail constitutionally protected freedoms, but alas, the UPND was treading on the same tactics the governing party suffered while in opposition.

He said the Supreme Court has guided on numerous occasions, including in the case of the LAZ vs Attorney General Appeal No. 8/2014, that the abuse of the provisions of the POA violates citizens’ freedoms of association, assembly and association.  “We would like to remind government of what the Supreme Court said at page J21 of that Judgement: Clearly, the Police were content to keep the alternative date nebulous, which is contrary to what the law specifically states. We do not think that this is the Sisyphean task to suggest an alternative date even when security concerns are raised. This state of affairs supports the argument that the POA is not being applied fairly by the Police to all the parties concerned,” Mr Zulu said.

He said Zambia as a growing democracy, should collectively seek ways to advance the life blood of a democracy, being the free exercise of the citizens’ rights of association, assembly and expression, entrenched in the Bill of Rights.

He said the fact that wrong things were committed in the past should not comfort the UPND government to repeat the same mistakes. 

Mr Zulu also said the continued trend of detaining suspects pending investigations by law enforcement agencies, which the association had been condemning was of great concern.

He said suspects, regardless of their nationality, should not be detained for investigations, and in any event not beyond the prescribed 24 hours before being brought before court.

“We call on the government to immediately take corrective action to remedy the continued abuse of the POA, including attending to its urgent reform as per the government’s commitment to do so, as well as bringing to an end the deplorable practice of detaining suspects for investigation purposes and beyond 24 hours before being brought before the courts of law.,” Mr Zulu said.



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