THE Zambia Police Service will not stop the United Party for National Development (UPND) from conducting its political activities as long as the opposition political party is going to comply with the provisions of the Public Order Act.
And the UPND has advised the Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to be fair and impartial in the administration of the Public Order Act (POA) because all political parties had the right to assemble and interact with their supporters.
Mr Kanganja said in a statement yesterday that for as long as the UPND and other political parties were not going to breach the Public Order Act, they would not be stopped from conducting their political activities.
He said the UPND and other political parties would have their full freedoms if they would endeavour to observe peace and order during their political gatherings.
Mr Kanganja said he had taken note of the concerns of the UPND leadership and commended the opposition political party for promoting dialogue in dealing with national issues.
He told Mr Hichilema and his team that the UPND was free to engage the police command each time they had concerns about how the Zambia Police was conducting itself.
Mr Kanganja assured political parties that the Public Order Act was going to be applied fairly and equally to all political parties.
“The Zambia Police command held a meeting with UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and senior party officials after concerns were raised over the application of the Public Order Act. The meeting was fruitful and it was resolved that the police will not stop the UPND from exercising their freedoms as long as they comply with the provisions of the law and observe peace and order during such meetings.
The Zambia Police Service therefore wishes to assure all political parties that it will do everything within its powers to make sure that the Public Order Act is applied fairly and equally,” Mr Kanganja said.
And Mr UPND Hichilema said he was happy that the meeting with the Police Command was fruitful and hoped that there would be a positive change in the manner the Public Order Act was being administered particularly that the country was going for the general elections.
Mr Hichilema said the UPND also expressed concern at the escalating political violence among political cadres and demanded that the Police Service should decisively deal with the scourge because it was causing tension and anxieties among citizens.
He told journalists after a meeting with Mr Kanganja at Police Force Headquarters yesterday that although the meeting between the UPND and the police chief was good, there was need for the police to actualize the resolutions agreed upon.
Mr Hichilema said the law was fair and impartial but it was its application that was causing concern among citizens and it was therefore imperative for the police to act professionally without any form of political influence.
He said it was the responsibility and mandate of the Zambia police to ensure that law and order was observed at all times and that violence should be dealt with firmly without considering who was involved in the vice.
Mr Hichilema cited the incident at the Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport where Democratic Front (DF) leader Miles Sampa was forced to abort his mission to launch his party in Kitwe on Saturday.
“We had a good meeting with the Inspector General of Police over the wrong administration of the Public Order Act and it is our expectation that there shall be change in the manner the law is being applied. Nobody has the right to impinge on the rights and freedoms of citizens and the application of the law must be impartial and fairly.
We have put our case before the police not only for the UPND but for other citizens. It is wrong that for the police to detain citizens for more than 48 hours and we all need to be protected,” he said.