The Centre for Policy Dialogue has highlighted that the police have a clear mandate to exercise caution in permitting political rallies, especially when security concerns arise. The organization’s Executive Director, Caroline Katotobwe, has called for a harmonious relationship between political players and law enforcement agencies to determine suitable times and locations for rallies, ensuring they unfold peacefully.
Speaking in an interview with ZNBC News in Lusaka, Ms. Katotobwe emphasized that political rallies are an essential component of democratic practices and the exercise of freedom of assembly and association. While recognizing the significance of political gatherings, she underscored the importance of respecting security considerations in the interest of public safety.
Over the past week, tensions have escalated between the Zambia Police and the opposition Patriotic Front party concerning the party’s intention to hold a political rally in the Zingalume area of Lusaka. This standoff has drawn attention to the delicate balance between political expression and maintaining law and order.
Ms. Katotobwe also called for peaceful coexistence among political parties in the country as a vital means of reducing political violence. She stressed that political violence is fundamentally incompatible with the principles of democracy and urged all stakeholders to prioritize peaceful engagement in the political arena.
Furthermore, Ms. Katotobwe highlighted the necessity of intensifying civic education as a crucial measure to combat political violence. By enhancing civic awareness and understanding, citizens can make informed decisions, contribute to peaceful dialogue, and minimize the risk of violence in the political landscape.