INSPECTOR General of Police Kakoma Kanganja says the Zambia Police has been applying the Public Order Act fairly but challenges stem from failure by political players to adhere to provisions of the law.
Mr Kanganja, in an interview on Friday, said it was unfortunate that stakeholders sometimes tend to abuse the law but later cry foul.
“Whoever wants to hold an assembly has been given a chance but they end up abusing the opportunity to hold public assemblies. An example is what happened in Choma; people were allowed to hold a public event, but they started attacking innocent people,” he said.
Mr Kanganja said the Public Order Act is meant to protect the people and therefore stakeholders must respect its provisions.
“If political parties abide by the law, the Public Order Act will serve its purpose of ensuring that there is peace during public events,” he said.
He said police have been allowing public events when notified because they are always assured of peaceful processions by the parties involved, but sometimes there is a breakdown of peace and order.
Mr Kanganja said police will now soon start sensitising all the stakeholders so that they understand the importance of abiding by the law.
“If people abide by the law, then we shall not have such problems,” he said.
Mr Kanganja also said the police service has started distributing handbooks on how to police elections to each of its officers in the country.
“We are concerned as Zambia Police at the rate of lawlessness in the country especially when it comes to political violence. We want to see peaceful elections, that is why we are doing everything we can to ensure that there is peace,” he said.
Mr Kanganja urged political party leaders to equally sensitise their cadres on how to conduct themselves during public events.
“We as police do not want to arrest or mistreat anyone, that is why we are calling on everyone to play their role in ensuring that peace prevails because it’s not the job of the police alone,” he said.