A number of Choma residents have proposed for a reduction in the period for notifying Police for public gatherings from 7 days to a maximum of 3 days in enforcing the Public Order Act in a just manner.
This came to light during a consultative meeting on the review of the Public Order Act for the Southern province in Choma.
Former District Commissioner (DC), Nkolola Hazemba observed that the reduction in the period of notice to hold public gatherings will strengthen the law enforcement institutions for future generations.
Mr Hazemba who is also a former Deputy Permanent Secretary submitted that the use of teargas by Police Officers should be regulated and must be the last resort to avoid infringing on the rights of citizens to hold peaceful assemblies.
And Bosten Simeja, from the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities proposed that low ranking police officers should issue permits for public gatherings.
Mr Simeja argued that restricting the authority to issue permits to high ranking Police Officers has contributed to delayed responses to notices.
“7 days notification is too long. Let it not be a preserve of higher authorities to grant permits to hold meetings” he said.
Another resident of Choma, Joan Mpundu contended that the presence of Police Officers in riot gear at recreational gatherings such as sports games, intimidates people and is likely to cause disorder by the public.
“Events like soccer games at stadiums are usually attended by families. Just because people are failing to form a queue, officers should not release teargas. There are children and the disabled there. That is what leads to stampedes” Ms Mpundu said.
Meanwhile, other residents have called for increased awareness on the provisions of the Public Order Act.
And Chama Kapolwa, a civil servant proposed that education on such should be incorporated in the school curriculum.
“I don’t know the contents of this act. Consider including it in civic education as most people are ignorant about it” Mr Kapolwa said.