President Sata’s U-turn on Public Order Act

President Michael Sata
President Michael Sata

By M Banda

President Sata says the PF has now discovered that the public order Act of 1955, which they had opposed in the past 10 years is a good law. He says he has realized that this law is necessary to maintain peace and avoid chaos!

This change of mind or heart is coming only 12 months in office!

The Public Order Act of 1955 is a British Colonial law that was designed to keep blacks and any perceived enemy of the Colonial Government from assembling to receive or share information or taking part from such activities that might dramatize the unpopularity of the British Colonial government. This law even prescribes who can or can not address a meeting if such a meeting was allowed to take place. The law also allows the Police to invade people’s homes, premises and offices to search for any speech, document or items that might be regarded as creating trouble for the government.

The Public Order Act on the other hand exempts those in government and its supporters from its restrictions. It allows ministers and the president to hold meetings, demonstrations and rallies anytime they chose.

This is the law today that the PF 12 months in power now finds to be a good law. What has changed and what have they seen in this law that they now feel it is a good law?

Given Lubinda once called the former president a yo yo for his oscillating positions on state matters. I hope he reminds his boss of this.

The change of PF positions on matters of the state that they were voted in are not only on the public order Act but on many issues such as the windfall tax, Chinese investment, appointment of cadres into the civil service among others. I wonder what they now feel on the Electoral Commission of Zambia and those that were responsible for rigging the previous elections from 1996!.

The voters when they voted the PF in government did not give them a carte blanche of what they can do or can not do. They voted them in government based on what the Zambians wanted done and the kind of Zambia Zambians wanted to see. For example Zambians wanted a Zambia where its citizens are free to assemble, demostrate, free to receive and share information, are free to associate with any persons regardless of tribe, religion or political affiliation. Zambians wanted a media free to play its platform role and a police free to play its umpire and protective role. Zambians did not abdicate their right to reason or thinking to the PF when they put them in power. Zambians did not say other political parties are now enemies of the state when they voted for the PF 12 months ago.

So where do the PF get this feeling that they can now decide what is good or bad for the Zambians?

Will they also decide what laws should be in the draft constitution at the end of the exercise after the Zambians have given their input?

The public order Act is an archaic law that only repressive and dictatorial regimes have used to their advantage and to keep the general citizenry cowed and on their defense.

This same law was used by the British to keep our fore fathers holed up in the villages and in compounds as third class citizens. The blacks had no voice and no right to participate in the decisions making process of Northern Rhodesia.

The same law was used by Kaunda and his dictatorial one party participatory democracy to keep any Zambian critical of UNIP and its leadership and its party and government. We all know how many of our brothers and sisters perished at the hands of the vigilantees and the shushushus! Many of them never saw multipartism again and those that survived the scars of that era are still written on their bodies and minds.

The MMD used the same law after the 1996 elections when Zambians began to see the party of who they were, a bunch of no gooders bent on reaping the country, its minerals and state companies of their resources. They used the same law to maintain state power until the Zambians kicked them from power 12 months ago.

Now the PF have joined the past regimes.


  1. Mr. M Banda. In what capacity are you interpreting the law. Please show us your credentials. This whole article is biased and hinged on painting a picture void of facts from the legal point of view. Surely, does the law talk about blacks and whites? God is the God is order. In any country there is a law about how and when people need to gather and the purpose. The law is there to avoid the likes of insurgency and terrorist training camps. Please interpret the law in terms of its pros and limitations and how it could be amended. Such journalism id not helpful.

  2. Ba Koko; You are the one who doesn’t know what you are talking about. I wonder how old you are not to know what colonial laws were meant to achieve. Why do you think we fought for independence?

    • @ Selima DK The Common Law we use in Zambia is older than the colonial era my friend. Most of the law is dated and Zambia and many other countries around the globe do not have their own crafted law including the United States of America (except Louisiana), Canada (except Quebec) and India. So I know what I am talking about. What we need are suggestions of how we can ammend the law not the biased rhetoric Mr. M. Banda is puting across. We need progressive journalism not stone casting. This law has been there and we need to look at the constitution review to see how we can amend it if it displeases the masses.

    • PS: We did not fight against the law for independence, we used the law to fight for independence. We adopted the Common Law because it liberated us. Now that times have changed, we just need to make amendments and not cast stones at what held us together all this while.

    • Ba Koko please educate me.. what do you mean by “The Common Law we use in Zambia is older than the colonial era..”

    • its good milile, three meals a day plus no twakusasula sasula, including all what he could not afford when in opposition we are buying everything for him that’s why he no longer look malnourished…lol…

    • Eating well, well. Doors r openin 4him, in the sun an umbella is held 4him. Some1 is tekn care of his farm, businesses. He does’t av to worry about payn his servants/works, food is free and nice food. even de grey hair might disappear

  3. Ba Salima DK: The Common Law we use in Zambia is older than the colonial era my friend. Most of the law is dated and Zambia and many other countries around the globe do not have their own crafted law including the United States of America (except Louisiana), Canada (except Quebec) and India. So I know what I am talking about. What we need are suggestions of how we can ammend the law not the biased rhetoric Mr. M. Banda is puting across. We need progressive journalism not stone casting. This law has been there and we need to look at the constitution review to see how we can amend it if it displeases the masses.

  4. Sata used to woo the masses by critisizing his predecessors at any chance. Seeming like he had informers everywhere and then giving false hope that he would be a better leader. you can see for yourselves now, the great unashamed turnarounds. He comes from UNIP, jumped to the MMD where he fought a fruitless battle to champion FTJ’s third term bid and then left when the short man chose the Great late Levy instead of him. In his blood, their is both UNIP and MMD blood running so NOTHING WILL CHANGE except of course the kwacha note.

  5. Well articulated piece of writing Mr Banda. As expected there will be some regime bootlickers who will come up with magic words to defend their self interests by supporting the regime. The main argument in this article is that Sata is now embracing the very laws that he vehemently opposed while in opposition just because they suite him. He has proved to be a decietiful, selfish, shameless dictator.

  6. I’m not surprised.Sata is so skilled at dirty politics.He knew for sure that he was going to U-turn on many issues once in office.He has been in government all his life, and has known all along how to survive in government as a Dictator.During campaigns he told people what they wanted to hear, and he got what he wanted, VOTES.After all, most people want to believe what they want.SATA NEVER MEANS WHAT HE SAYS.Four more years to go,DON’T KUBEBA!!!

  7. Why ba fi post are not writing anything on this …. i dont know!!! Ba President Mmembe should say something muli ci editito… whatever he calls it!!

  8. Sata and his PF have reneged on so many issues before this and it should hardly surprise anyone. Mr Sata’s history is well documented and Mr M’membe’s attempts to launder his dubious character are in vain. The man is a liar and he will only say things that he wants the gullible paople to hear. Somehow, he always gets away with. Does anyone remember the strong advocacy for Windfall tax, chasing away Chinese, Constitution within 90 days, less foreign travel etc? Malabishi yeka yeka

  9. Ba Koko, what bias is there when what is put across is true? How many meetings of political parties have been thwarted just in the last month? Are there any signs of terrorism in MMD Mongu meeting? UPND cancelled rallies? Be objective in your analysis. There lies plain truth even for my 13 years old daughter to analyse. The President was very clear on this. Why did he dislike the law when he was in opposition? It is oppressive, period! We do not need any discriminatory law in this dispensation. We are free people, there is no fight for independence but for justice for ALL. Zambia needs THINKERS now than before or else our PRIDE, OUR DEMOCRACY IS DEAD!

  10. @JS, I am also wondering why The Post Newspaper is so quiet on these critical issues that we ALL fought against. Public Order Act is one piece of legislation that needed urgent attention whenever we changed government. This is the case that needed the 90 days promise. But, that is when we even see more harrssment than the MMD did to PF and The Post is quiet, Transparency International Zambia is quiet. Who gave you the poison to be so QUIET imwe ba Post and NGOs?

  11. Very Rubbish. You are saying its law of Zambia , so what do you want PF to do? To throw away a law that is recognized by the constitution?  You see you pompous for nothing people, we tell you to always debate issues but always quick to insult. Where were you in 1964 when you Zambians continued  with the same archaic law? where were you when MMD continued with the same archaic law… and you never opened you mouth, but now since it is Sata on the throne you accuse him of oppression… my nose. My dear its not Sata but you and yourself your selfish friends have all along from 1964 allowed this law. So your accusing Sata is Rubbish man.  

    • 20.1,  Thats what you are well known for…insults. You think by insulting people UPND will win any election in Zambia…no man. Sell your part to Zambians and not the diasporan guys who don’t vote. May God bless you as you continue insulting man.

  12. you chaps you’re so naive ka!!!!
    this is what we call politics !!!!
    mukose bane mukose bane mukose bane mukose bane mukose bane mukose bane mukose bane mukose bane mukose bane
    you think you can win an election?
    mumba nevers mukose bane mukose bane mukose bane

  13. Umuntuse, this is zambia and not UK. The same UK u r worshiping is the same UK that introduced the moron law. Read the aerticle again. Read and understand. That’s why u just went as far as Grade 9

  14. From the Post News paper: “We have so many laws in this country; 98 per cent of the laws in this country they are the laws which we inherited from the colonial government. And we have maintained them because they’re good laws, and the two per cent of our own laws. And there are some of the laws which we said they were very bad laws when we were in opposition, like the public order Act; we thought the public order Act was very bad,” said President Sata.

    “But when you are in government, that’s when you realise because they’ll be no government when there’s no sanity in society. There will be no government when there’s no order in society. And you have to assist the weaker people.” Very interesting.

  15. Mekako or jaribu? B mudala bale suba ka something pa menso. Limbi ni stock yaba madam Kaseba….eh, naine wine ndefwa ya kokakola/fanta comPRection!


  17. the ugly truth is governance is not easy. some hard decisions need to be made for the good of the nation. decisions that no doubt damage some lives or take away some rights or liberties. take the USA and the governments monitoring of people after 9/11 some citizen complained about invasion of privacy etc. but if another attack happened same people will turn against that govt did not do enough. bottom line Zambia’s democracy is too young to let loose and have everyone do as they please govt has to do some ugly/unpopular things for the greater good and they need to be protect by some constitutional laws. e.g. actions of some Barotse Activists that compromise national security in the name of freedom of expression! Zambian democracy too young “spare the rod and spoil the child” 

  18. @20 Loitering president, am in no way worshipping the UK, only one is worth of my worship, the Lord God Almighty. U can form&make ur own inferences as to my grade 9 education, and that’s because u can’t afford to reason within the remits of the article in focus, u r leaning towards provocation, which takes away a sober mind…not my thing

  19. democracy can be abused by nationals hence the Govt should regulate extent of freedom to avoid derailing development and peace, congratulations #6.

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