PARAMOUNT Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba people has described the Public Order Act (POA) as an archaic law pushed on Zambians by the colonial masters and is now looking forward to a Government that is going to be bold enough and abolish the law by expunging it from the statutes.
The Chitimukulu said the POA was a law that was used indiscriminately by the colonial masters to oppress citizens by demanding that political parties at the time needed the permission of local chiefs before holding their public meetings.
The Bashilubemba appealed to the present generation of leaders to consider abolishing the law because in more ways than one, the law was an infringement on the fundamental rights of citizens.
Paramount Chief Chitimukulu said this on Monday when United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema and his vice-president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba paid a courtesy call on him at his palace in Kasama.
“The Public Order Act is an archaic piece of law that is not supposed to be in our statutes. The law was crafted by the colonial masters to oppress citizens and I am looking forward to a Government that is going to abolish the law, I am wondering why the current generation of leaders cannot have it abolished because it is an affront to human rights,” he said.
Paramount Chief Chitimukulu said he was deeply concerned with the escalating levels of political violence particularly during electoral contests.
He said in a democracy, citizens were expected to be free to belong to any political party of their choice stating that it was not a crime for any citizen to associate himself or herself to any orgainisation they so desired.
Paramount Chief Chitimukulu said he did not want to see his subjects fighting because of differences in their political opinion and association and challenged the political parties canvassing for votes in his chiefdom to deal and end the violence associated with elections.
“I do not want people in my chiefdom to be fighting each other on the basis that they belong to different political parties. It is the responsibility of the leadership of the political parties to deal with the vice of political violence,” the Chitimukulu said.
And UPND president Hichilema said he was humbled by the reception he received from the Chitimukulu and told the traditional leader that his vision was to unite Zambia.
Mr Hichilema said he had been a victim of the Public Order Act countless times and that it was his hope that the law would one day be abolished because it was nothing but a tool to victimize those who were holding a different opinion from that of Government.
Mr Hichilema is in Lubansenshi constituency to drum up support for the UPND candidate Patrick Mucheleka in the September 24 parliamentary by-election.