THE Public Order Act (POA) in its current form is a good law for the maintenance of social order and to prevent the breakdown of law, the Patriotic Front (PF) has said.
PF deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya said Zambians who valued social order and the respect of the rule of law should commend Members of Parliament (MPs) who shot down the motion that proposed the amendment of the Public Order Act.
Mr Bwalya said while it was undeniable that the law had sometimes not been fairly applied by the police, amending the law to allow people and political parties to behave as they wished would be promoting social disorder.
He said although it was true that the POA had at certain times been applied by the police in a manner that raised a lot of complaints from political parties and other stakeholders, that should not be the reason to abolish it.
Mr Bwalya said often times, political parties and stakeholders had failed to cooperate with the police to make it easy for the law enforcement officers to maintain law and order in the country.
He said it was therefore prudent for Zambians to commend MPs that shot down the motion that attempted to force Government to take amendment to the POA to Parliament on Wednesday.
“The Public Order Act in its current form is a good law for the maintenance of social order and the rule of law. It is undeniable that the law has sometimes been applied in a manner that has raised a lot of complaints from stakeholders.
‘‘It is also true that stakeholders including political parties have failed to cooperate with the police so as to make their work easy to maintain law and order in the country.
Amending the POA would be a recipe for confusion and breakdown of law and order,” Mr Bwalya said. He said if the law was amended to allow political parties and other stakeholders to conduct their processions and demonstrations freely, the peace and security of the country would be threatened.
Mr Bwalya recalled that recently the police had to curtail the visit of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to Southern Province using the POA after it was discovered that his cadres were blocking roads and harassing members of the public who refused to flash the UPND symbol. He said Mr Hichilema decided to undertake a tour of Southern Province shortly after President Edgar Lungu visited the region but the peace and security of the region and the country as a whole was threatened after the UPND cadres ran amok harassing people and damaging private property.
“You can imagine what would become of Zambia where political parties defy the police. There would be chaos in the country and we would not be saying the POA was being applied fairly. What we should work on is to improve the application of the law so that it is applied fairly in the interest of law and order,” Mr Bwalya said.