MMD President Nevers Mumba says the country risks having violent political campaigns if the Public Order Act is not changed ahead of the 11th August 2016 elections.
Speaking when he featured on a special program on Hot FM radio, Dr. Mumba said the POA has to be changed before the beginning of the campaigns for the General elections to allow other political players campaign freely.
He said failure to remove or making it ineffective, the Act is likely to be the major trigger for political violence in the coming months.
“The Public Order Act must be changed now prior to the beginning of election campaigns. The President and the IG can make a decision since the law is not harmful in its current state, the MMD changed that law to ensure that it does not require any political organization to obtain a permit except notify the police and if the police, like the excuse they are giving, do not have manpower to marshal the meetings the same legislation suggests that the political party organizes its own marshals.
“Failure to remove that law or make it ineffective, so that it is not used on your opponents, is going to be the major trigger for violence and insecurity in the country. If we don’t deal with it now the elections will not be violent free because the police do not understand this, they just want to keep their jobs, they want to impress the government in place and they don’t care about what we think or say so in order to keep their jobs they are willing to do anything even being unreasonable like they were in Lundazi were one officer throw a tear gas canister in a hall were people were having a peaceful meeting. Those things could continue if the President and the Inspector General of Police do not make it categorically clear to the police to leave all the political players alone, ” he said.
On the amended constitution Dr. Mumba said there is no constitution which is perfect and that Parliament exists to repeal and make new laws hence people should realise that not everything should be in the document for people to say their views have been taken on board.
He said trying to shoot down the amended constitution is a betrayal of Zambians because the PF did not come up with the document but that it was the people who wanted most of the progressive clause which are in the amended constitution.
And Dr. Mumba has advised political parties not to be arrogant by lying to themselves that they are more popular hence will be the outright victors in the elections.
He said the political dynamics have changed with the coming in of the running mate and 50%+1 vote clauses and that those using the arrogance of numbers will be shocked.
“What we have said as MMD is that with the signing of the new constitution all major parties must build bridges to survive and become part of the process. There is no big, small or medium political party now in view of what is going on and I think that it is the skillful political party which is not arrogant and self conceited to feel that them along are going to form government. As a matter of fact the shock will be that those who think will form government and using arrogance or conceit of saying we had so many votes last year so we just need so many votes, that is not how democracy works, it is not just adding up votes, this entire scenario is going to shift because of the new constitution,” he said.
On the economic front, the opposition leader called on President Lungu to give direction on what people should expect in terms of the economic challenges being faced in the country.
He said people should be told what their government is doing in order to turn around the economy as opposed to letting them speculate. He said that with information people are able to make economic decisions without negative repercussions.
He also called on the people of Zambia to consider giving the former ruling party a vote because they have a track record and are a proven party which was able to turn around the country’s economic fortunes after it took over from UNIP under difficult circumstances.