Human Rights commission condemn PF in Luapula for saying HH should never step in Luapula
Public rally by United Party for national developement (UPND) and other related issues
The Commission is pleased that Police permitted the UPND to hold a public rally in Mandevu on Sunday 6th October. As we have stated before, the right to assemble peacefully is recognized in both local and international laws and must therefore be safeguarded at all times. Rather than be seen to be the impediments to the enjoyment of this and other related rights, the Police, as they did on Sunday, must be facilitators who ensure that order an safety prevail.
Reports that some cadres from the ruling party had earlier attempted to disrupt the gathering are regrettable. We call upon members of different political affiliations to be tolerant of divergence as this is the bedrock of our democracy.
In the same vein, therefore, we condemn in the strongest terms, the reported remarks by some named Patriotic Front (PF) officials in Mansa, Luapula who have stated that the Province is a no-go area for UPND president Hakainde Hichilema for uttering remarks at the rally which they consider unacceptable. The Commission wishes to remind all that Mr Hichilema, like everybody else, has the right to hold opinions and express them as provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia. Similarly, we call on the PF officials to recognize Mr Hichilema’s freedom of movement within and outside Zambia, constitutionally guaranteed in Article 22(1)(a).
Building a sustainable Human Rights Culture together
The Commission further wishes to recognize and applaud the visible efforts, within the higher echelons of the PF, to restrain cadres from taking the law into their own hands and, in the process, victimizing innocent citizens. Such and other instances of indiscipline tend to limit the enjoyment of certain rights by the general public just as they may have a direct bearing on the popularity of the PF, irrespective of whatever strides the party may be making towards enhancing our enjoyment of economic and social rights, for instance through the many infrastructure developments around the country.
The conciliatory tone of Information and Broadcasting Minister (and Government Spokesperson), Mwansa Kapeya, when dealing with opposition concerns over the Public Order Act also gives us great hope that we are finally approaching an era in our democracy when confrontation and counter invectives are a thing of the past! We urge Mr Kapeya to maintain that conciliatory tone in all his government position pronouncements and call upon others to emulate him.