Poor People’s President Alex Muliokela has become the latest public figure to join a new wave of applications for a permit from the Zambia Police to move around.
This follows the summoning of United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema for questioning over an alleged breach of the Public Order Act (POA) by police.
Lusaka Province commissioner of police Charity Katanga said in an interview that Mr Hichilema’s visits to shops and homes in Kabwata allegedly caused confusion.
“The UPND leader was busy going round the shops, so we have summoned him to appear before Kabwata Police Station officers at 10:00 hours. We just want to interview him,” she said.
She said being a public figure, the UPND leader is expected to notify the police before engaging in any public meetings, including visits to shops and residential areas.
In a letter addressed to Kanyama Police where the PPP leader resides, Muliokela says he has been a target of being mobbed by people who either want to take pictures with him or merely want to have a chat.”As you may be aware that I am a Public figure now and I am bound to occasionally meet a huge number of my supporters in public” reads Muliokela’s correspondence in part.
Mazabuka MP Garry Nkombo yesterday applied for a police permit to buy vegetables. In his application, Nkombo explained that he wants to go and buy vegetables at the market but he fears that people may recognise him and want to speak to him thereby causing public disorder.
Former Minister of Commerce Dipak Patel was the first public figure to apply for a police permit to allow him to freely move and mingle around in the country and greet people as a recognisable public figure. Mr Patel said he walks to Melissa Supermarket and the Woodlands shopping centre and being a public figure and easily recognizable,people often gather around him.He said according to the recent pronouncement by the police, as a Zambian citizen and public figure he is required to inform the police and or obtain a permit if he is to meet and greet people.
In his comments after applying for the permit, Dipak encouraged all current and former Members of Parliament and Ministers, formers Presidents, First Ladies and all other public figures like musicians, artists to ensure that they apply for police permits in order for them to meet, greet, talk and mingle with people within the boundaries Zambia, especially if they attract crowds as a requirement under what he called the PF/Zambia Police regime.