Police and the opposition UPND on Monday held a closed door meeting to discuss among other pressing matters, the Public Order Act and the escalating political violence.
Both parties discribed the meeting as fruitful and resolved that the Police would not stop the opposition from holding meetings provided they adhered to the provision of the Act.
In a short statement, Police Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja said the Police will not stop the UPND from exercising their freedoms as long as they comply with the provisions of the law and observe peace and order during such meetings.
Mr Kanganja further assured all political parties that the Police will do everything within their powers to make sure that the Public Order Act is applied fairly and equally to all.
And UPND Spokesperson Charles Kakoma said his party has made it clear that the party will continue following the provisions of the POA and go ahead with its meetings, rallies and procession.
Below is the full statement as issued by the party Spokesperson.
25th January 2016
UPND Leadership meeting with Zambia Police Command
This afternoon high level UPND leadership figures, including party President Hakainde Hichilema, vice presidents Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba and Dr. Canisius Banda, Secretary General Stephen Katuka, National Chairperson Mutale Nalumango and others, engaged the Zambia Police Inspector General and his top command on various issues.
Key issues discussed were the selective application and abuse of the Public Order Act, rising political violence in the country, and the victimisation of fellow police officers suspected of being sympathetic to opposition political parties.
As UPND, we cited solid evidence of cases where our meetings have been cancelled or denied despite us following all the requirements for holding such meetings.
We put it to the police command that their actions were against the provisions of the POA and hence illegal.
It has been agreed with the police command that the UPND will continue following the laid down procedures in notifying the police and enjoy the full rights of holding our meetings and our freedoms as provided by the constitution.
The UPND made it very clear that our party will continue following the provisions of the POA and go ahead with its meetings, rallies and processions.
The UPND will also continue holding indoor meetings that do not require police notifications and permits.
On the rising political violence, the UPND called on the police to rise above partisan lines and deal firmly with the perpetrators of political violence, especially by the PF cadres who seem to be aided by the state police.
The UPND also called on the police top command to stop victimisation of colleagues who are refusing to brutalise opposition members.
It was also stated and agreed that a number of UPND members are being detained in police cells sometimes more than the stipulated 24 hours without appearing in court and that in some instances the charges are changed to more punitive non-bailable offences. The trend must be stopped.
The UPND also gave examples of how the police command have ignored court orders after a ruling has been made.
All these issues were addressed in an amicable and cordial atmosphere and it is our hope the police will no longer interfere with the activities of our party mobilisation teams on the ground.
The police command will issue their own statement on the resolutions of the meeting.
UPND Party Spokesperson