Members of the armed forces authorised by Republican President Edgar Lungu must uphold the rule of law and balance up enforcement of lawful measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with respect for human rights, Center for Constitutionalism and Legal Justice (CCONLEJ) has said.
Welcoming the decision by President Edgar Lungu to allow the armed Forces to partner with the police to curb political violence, Center Director Isaac Mwanza said the decision has been long overdue and meant to protect loss of lives.
“Zambia is currently confronted with two battles, one in which we must win against and stop the spread the COVID-19 and another where we must isolate these blood-thirsty cadres from our democratic process,” he said.
He said the Zambia Police on their own have proven inadequate to deal with the two battles and bemoaned the continued violation of the COVID-19 health regulations.
“So while the Constitution provides for freedom of movement and Assembly, Articles 21 and 22 of the Zambian Constitution allow the imposition of restrictions when they are reasonably required in the interests of public safety, public order, and public health,” said Mwanza.
He said reckless politicians who are promoting large gatherings against the COVID-19 regulations have no justified reasons to cry foul when their freedom of movement and Assembly is being restricted in the interest of public health and public safety.
“The framers of our Constitution had envisaged a situation where public health would be in danger and some human beings would abuse freedom of movement and assembly to endanger the safety measures, hence the Constitution allowing restrictions on these freedoms,” he said.
Mr Mwanza has called on the Armed Forces to fairly ensure lives of citizens are protected, large gatherings are prevented while allowing citizens to enjoy their rights within the confines of the existing laws and regulations.