The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has expressed sadness at the continued abuse of the provisions of the Public Order Act, under the new dawn government.
On Saturday, Zambia Monitor reported that Police in Lusaka had sealed off Muchinga grounds in Zingalume area of Matero Constituency which was a venue for the PF’s plan to to launch its strategic plan.
LAZ President, Lungisani Zulu, spoke through a statement issued in Lusaka on Monday.
He said the development was stifling the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights of association, assembly and freedom of expression.
“There is need for government to immediately take corrective action to remedy the continued abuse of the Public Order Act, including attending to its urgent reform as per the government’s commitment to do so,” Zulu said.
He said there was need to bring to an end the deplorable practice of detaining suspects for investigation purposes and beyond 24 hours before being brought before the courts of law.
Zulu said with the ushering in of a United Party for National Development (UPND) in 2021, LAZ, like many citizens had hoped that the abuse of the provisions of the Public Order Act experienced under previous governments would come to an end.
“Unfortunately, little seems to have changed, with the latest episode witnessing the Police constructively denying the PF’s request to hold a political rally on Saturday on the basis of the often cited excuse of ‘security reasons,” he said.
Zulu said that this suggested that they may not have had enough numbers of officers to police the event, but strangely finding the same numbers, if not more, to prevent the holding of the political rally.
“Having suffered the same tactics under the previous government, we had hoped the new dawn government would correct the past abuse of the Police Service to curtail constitutionally protected freedoms, but alas, this does not appear to be the case, at least thus far,” he said.
Zulu said the Supreme Court has guided on numerous occasions, including in the case of the LAZ v Attorney General Appeal No. 8/2014, that the abuse of the provisions of the Public Order Act violates citizens’ freedoms of association, assembly and association.
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