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HRC and the public order Act

It is a waste of time and money for the Human Rights Commission to go around the country getting submissions on the public order Act.

Issues or concerns about the public order Act and its administration are well known. If there’s any doubt the best the Human Rights Commission can do is talk to the political parties and civil society organisations that have sought police permits to hold rallies, protests or demonstrations. They should also talk to the police, home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo and his boss Edgar Lungu.

And over the years the courts have pronounced themselves on the public order Act.

And last year the Socialist Party had launched a complaint with the Human Rights Commission over their being denied police permits to hold rallies in Lusaka and Chinsali. What has come out of that complaint?

We have no doubt the Human Rights Commission knows very well what the problem is regarding the public order Act and its administration and where the problem lies.

But there’s timidity in making its position known on this government’s violations of this fundamental human right.

The main problem is Kampyongo and Edgar – they are the ones making decisions on who should be granted or denied a police permit to hold a rally, demonstration or protest. And the considerations are not public order but their political survival. The police are often totally helpless. And these people are ruthless with police officers who want to act independently – they transfer or retire them. Kampyongo has completely usurped the powers of the Inspector General of Police. He is directly giving orders to police officers on the administration of the public order Act.

The Human Rights Commission knows very well all this but still wants to waste time and money getting submissions from the public all over the country. Why?

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