Thursday, November 01, 2012

Public order Act will be reviewed - Sakeni

Public order Act will be reviewed - Sakeni
By Mukosha Funga
Thu 01 Nov. 2012, 13:58 CAT

THE public order Act will be reviewed, says information and broadcasting minister Kennedy Sakeni.

In an interview after he opened the African labour media workshop in Lusaka on Tuesday, Sakeni said the government would engage stakeholders to review the public order Act.

"People have been making comments and as government we will try to engage stakeholders and come up with an amicable solution. We cannot just do it overnight... people want freedom of speech, they want absolute freedom. There is no absolute freedom. You cannot just allow people to be assembling anywhere as they wish," he said.

Sakeni said PF could not abandon the public order Act, but would review it.

"Absolute freedom can bring about anarchy in the country but of course there is room for reform and reviewing some of the contents in the Act," Sakeni said. "Freedoms must have limitations. If you give absolute freedom, people will start walking naked and there will be nothing like pornography, sodomy and the like. So these are issues we should always look at; there must always be limitations."

Sakeni said the government was listening to the concerns of the people and it would take them into consideration when reviewing the Act.

"There is room for engaging government; we can't just be depending on a piece of legislature. When the people speak, we will listen and engage other stakeholders so that we balance up but absolute freedom is impossible anywhere in the world. It is still one of our priorities but we cannot handle all these issues at the same time," he said.
President Michael Sata recently described the Public Order Act as a good law that he thought was bad when in opposition.

Speaking at State House when he swore in Joseph Akafumba as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, President Sata said his government would not repeal the public order Act in order to ensure order in the country and avoid anarchy.

"When we (Patriotic Front) were in the opposition, we thought some laws like the public order Act were bad. But we are now in government and appreciate this law because there will be no government without sanity and order in society," he said.

President Sata said it would continue being difficult for opposition political parties to understand the public order Act because they were not in government.

Meanwhile, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions general secretary Roy Mwaba says it is high time issues of labour were given prominence by the media.

"Labour partners and the government through the media can enhance national development," he said.

He also urged labour unions to come up with newspapers and periodicals that cover labour-related issues of various organisations.

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