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IT is high time that President Hakainde Hichilema should respect his commitment to governing the country by the rule of law and not by his whims and caprices because Zambia is a democracy, Brian Mundubile has said.

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Mr Mundubile, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament says Zambians are deeply concerned that President Hichilema has drifted into governing the country at his whims and caprices with total disregard to the dictates of the Constitution which he swore to defend.

Reacting to the statement in which  the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) expressed disappointment by the continued abuse of the Public Order Act  (POA), Mr Mundubile said  it was not a favour that President Hichilema should govern Zambia using the rule of law but that was what was dictated by the Constitution.

He said the UPND administration had converted the POA into a weapon for harassing political opponents, resulting in the stifling of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of association, assembly and expression. 

“President Hichilema must follow what the constitution says. We want citizens, including members of the Patriotic Front (PF) to be able to move freely, to be able to associate freely. There is this paranoia…the UPND are gripped with fear that they do not want people to talk. You must be suspicious why is it that they cannot allow people to talk? 

“They have made so many mistakes. Every other day, there is a new scandal. If it is not sugilite, then it is gold it is lithium, it is cobalt, its maize, it is mealie-meal. There is a scandal every single day,” Mr Mundubile said.

He said institutions mandated to protect public interests such as LAZ would no longer keep quiet because they had given President Hichilema and his administration enough leeway of two years but they have realised that the new dawn administration was not willing to change and would continue abusing the law with impunity.

 “It is a well-documented fact that previously, there was an amendment to the Public Order Act. This was after the famous Christine Mulundika case where it was discovered that the piece of legislation actually flew in the teeth of Part 3 of our constitution, which guarantees certain freedoms to citizens. After that amendment, it was made abundantly clear that a party, be it a church, does not need to get permission from the police but merely notify them,” Mr Mundubile said.

He said by the mere fact that the PF obeyed the law and notified the police about their intention to hold a public rally on August 26, 2023, should not have implied to the police that the former ruling party was seeking permission.

Mr Mundubile said it was unfortunate that Inspector-General of Police, Graphael Musamba had clothed himself with power to give permission for public rallies and processions when he did not have such authority.

“I think they (UPND and Zambia Police) are very fortunate that PF is a party with leadership that is civilized. The PF sat back and advised members to retreat. Can you imagine had they insisted on going ahead to hold the rally, even with heavy presence of police as they would have been within the law, what would have been the result? The result was going to be total chaos and probably with loss of life. Obviously that is what Mr Musamba wanted,” Mr Mundubile said.

He said the Police Service was now weaponizing itself against citizens at every point that they think that they are helping President Hichilema when they are actually destroying him.



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