Thursday, February 22, 2024

Government Advances Public Order Act Review for Parliamentary Consideration

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The government has disclosed ongoing efforts to review and bring the Public Order Act for debate in the parliament. Information and Media Minister, Cornelius Mweetwa, affirmed that the government is working on refining the Act, signaling its imminent submission for parliamentary scrutiny.

In an interview Mr. Mweetwa acknowledged the public’s anticipation regarding the Act’s presentation in parliament, particularly following the proposal for its repeal and replacement by the Zambia Law Development Commission earlier in the year. He emphasized the necessity for further consultations with stakeholders to iron out specific clauses, aiming to present a draft copy that minimizes contentious points for efficient parliamentary debate.

The government’s primary objective is to ensure the smooth and swift progress of the Act through parliamentary processes. Mr. Mweetwa highlighted the government’s commitment to align with President Hakainde Hichilema’s directive to expedite parliamentary proceedings.

The Zambia Law Development Commission had submitted the proposed repeal and replacement of the Public Order Act, alongside a draft of the Public Gatherings Act, to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Home Affairs for further examination on January 16, 2023.

The Public Order Act has been a subject of scrutiny in the past, often criticized for granting excessive powers to the police, which some argue could suppress the exercise of fundamental rights such as freedom of association and assembly.

The government’s active steps towards refining the Act are aimed at addressing these concerns, ensuring that the legislative amendments uphold fundamental rights while maintaining a balance with law enforcement considerations.

The anticipated debate and potential amendment of the Public Order Act hold significance for safeguarding citizens’ rights and ensuring a fair and just legal framework for public gatherings and demonstrations. The government’s commitment to a consultative and expedited process reflects a dedication to legislative improvements in line with the country’s democratic values.

9 COMMENTS

  1. This Mweetwa should have been appointed to the vacant Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    Then ku Information give that colored Dante something…

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  2. A very well crafted act this Public Order act unfortunately abused by successive governments. Why is Police assuming powers they don’t have in the public order act, and who is holding them accountable for this gross omission which has a negative impact on democracy

  3. After they have kicked out our mps that is when they want to crookedly pass crooked laws to suit then. Eeembwa izi

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    • @ Kaizer Zulu

      I remember @INDEPENDENT OBSERVER commenting last week that UPND will use this period the speaker has suspended PF MP’s from parliament for a quick and fast tracked votes …… But some blogger called @ GENERAL KANENE became so emotional about it, responding to @INDEPENDENT OBSERVER that he will be proved wrong. This is what it now looks like….. UPND want to push P/O through while PF Mps are suspended.

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    • We have friends inside UPND and we know that they want to enact this law by fine tuning it to HH’s desires. They should wait until PF Members of parliament return back to participate in the vote. This is huge law for all Zambians. HH has developed dictatorial manners, no wonder there is too much silent cries inside UPND.

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