Power and Politics

New Heritage Party petitions Human Rights Commission over repeated police restrictions on political rallies


The New Heritage Party has written to the Human Rights Commission requesting intervention in the matter of unlawful restrictions on political rallies by the police.

The party notified the police of its rally scheduled for June 1, 2024, in Lusaka’s Mandevu Compound District and was asked to provide a list of speakers and a certificate of registration, which it later provided.

In a letter dated May 2, 2024, party president, Chishala Kateka, noted with concern that police had invoked the vague excuse of “security concerns” to deny the party permission to hold the rally.

Kateka stated that this was not the first time the police had used this excuse to stop the party from exercising its constitutional right of peaceful assembly and association.

“On March 10, 2023, members of NHP, together with members of other political parties, were arrested on the spurious pretext of unlawful assembly, even though the organizers had notified the police in accordance with the law,” she highlighted.

Kateka recalled that on April 13, 2024, the party’s programme to participate in a rally organized under the United Kwacha Alliance (UKA) in Kafue town, Lusaka Province, was similarly interfered with by the police on the same excuse, which had become an all-too-familiar routine.

“This is being used to stifle the voices of opposition and undermine the fundamental rights of organizations and individuals to assemble, associate, and express themselves,” Kateka lamented.

She cited Article 21 of the Constitution of Zambia, which guarantees the right to freedom of assembly, association, and speech.

Kateka also referenced Article 23, which empowers the Human Rights Commission to investigate and address human rights violations.

Read More: New Heritage Party alleges govt dictatorship, as police demand list of speakers at proposed Mandevu rally

“Furthermore, Article 25 mandates the Commission to ensure that public authorities, including the police, are held accountable for their actions, including through referral to a competent tribunal,” she stated.

Kateka requested the Commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the police command’s decision to deny the party permission to hold the rally.

She also wants the Commission to hold the police command accountable for their actions, including referral to a competent tribunal if necessary.

“Ensure that the rights of the Party and its members are protected and respected, in accordance with the Constitution and international human rights standards,” Kateka requested.

She expressed believe that the Commission’s prompt intervention was crucial in safeguarding Zambia’s democracy and upholding the rule of law.

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