MMD promises to scrap The Public Order Act

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FILE: MMD members escaping tear gas at a meeting
FILE: MMD members escaping tear gas at a meeting

The Police officers involved in the infamous Lundazi Teargassing incident on 18th of December 2015 used the Public Order Act which is an archaic piece of legislation from 1953, whose sole purpose was to harass and intimidate opposition voices. The Patriotic Front have greatly abused the Public Order Act by forcing political parties to obtain so-called Police permits to hold rallies. This is completely wrong.

In 1995, there was a landmark Supreme Court ruling in the case of “Christine Mulundika and Seven Others Versus The People”. The Supreme court noted that the Public Order Act is a hangover from colonial times and was abandoned by the British themselves who wrote it. So why do we still have it in our books?

The Supreme Court ruled that it is not necessary for anyone to get a police permit for a public gathering as it was inconsistent with Freedom of Speech and Movement which are guaranteed in the Zambian Constitution. The provision requiring police permits was declared null and void and struck down 20 years ago but it is still being misused because of ignorance. Let me quote from the judgment.

“… we hold that subsection 4 of section 5 the Public Order Act, CAP 104, contravenes Articles 20 and 21 of the constitution and is null and void, and therefore invalid for unconstitutionality. It follows also that the invalidity and the constitutional guarantee of the rights of assembly and expression preclude the prosecution of persons and the criminalization of gatherings in contravention of the subsection pronounced against. Accordingly, a prosecution based on paragraph (a) of section 7 which depends on subsection 4 of section 5 would itself be inconsistent with the constitutional guarantees and equally invalid.”

Fellow Zambians, the court advised political parties to inform the Police of impending public meetings which those of us in the opposition adhere to but the PF themselves never follow. Moreover, a private meeting with our party structures requires no notice to the Police because we are a private club. It would be absurd for the Police to require notice for every private meeting we hold because this would entail that even the Lions Club or Rotary Club or churches would also require police notification.

Unfortunately, the PF has taken advantage of its position in power to force us in the opposition to apply for police permits which they then reject for flimsy reasons. We demand that the PF stop using the Police to enforce a non-existent law.

Once elected, we shall abolish the Public Order Act within my first year in office. It has no place in a modern society. There are enough provisions in other parts of the law which deal with public disorder or damage to property. The Public Order Act does not add any value to Zambian politics.

Nevers Sekwila Mumba
MMD President

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Testing your own medicine. You failed to scrap it for 20 years, you natured this beast now it is being used against you. The people who are very hard on other people’s skins, they are very tender on theirs! No sir, you will again fall in love with it, it’s only 5 years you are already complaining? You must learn to live with it. It’s only the people that can deal with it, not the politicians.

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  2. What happened to the 20 years mmd was in power? I thought that should have happened then and not now. Ba Mumba tell us how your party will make Kwacha 1:1 with US dollar. How you will make sure Kariba dam is full of water, even when there is a drought and how you will raise the copper selling price to the highest mark never seen before and sustain it forever. How every Zambian will have a job etc.. not ifyo mulebepa ifya POA which the general citizenry don’t complain about but politicians only.

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  3. Well MMD had 20 years to remove the POA. When do they intend to remove it now that they are insignificant part? I am surprise that people made submissions to the new constitution and no one remembered the remove the POA.

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  4. Even this party of illiterates wont scrap it and when they are voted out they will speak like Nevers. that is for the few who will remain in the sunken boat as most of these opportunists will have jumped to another tree like the monkies that they are.

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