Sunday, December 15, 2013

Govt won't use POA to punish opposition, says Kampyongo
By Abel Mboozi
Thu 31 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE PF government has no intentions of using the public order Act to chastise the opposition as such a move can encourage totalitarianism, says home affairs deputy minister Stephen Kampyongo.

And Kampyongo says there is no victor or loser in the dismissal of the petition by the Law Association of Zambia to determine the constitutionality of the public order Act, alleging that it was discriminatory to opposition political parties.

Meanwhile, Luena ADD member of parliament Getrude Imenda says it is not treason for people of Western Province to ask for the restoration of the Barotse Agreement.

In his policy debate on the 2014 national budget, Kampyongo said there was a danger of totalitarianism in the absence of freedom in Zambia.

"But again, Mr Speaker, when there is more freedom, there is no order. Our doors as government are open and we are ready to engage with our colleagues in the opposition in order for us to look at this piece of legislation because it's important. It is the only law we have to maintain order and freedom," he said.

Kampyongo said the government was ready to dialogue with its opponents to see how best the Act could be administered as it was cardinal in promoting peaceful co-existence in a democracy.

"It should be noted therefore that it is not the intention of the PF government to punish opponents with the public order Act," he said.
On the dismissed LAZ case, Kampyongo said: "On the POA issue, there is no winner and no loser. Although the issue was in court, it accords us an opportunity to engage our colleagues on how this law should be administered."

Last week, the Lusaka High Court dismissed a petition in which the LAZ had asked the court to determine the constitutionality of the public order Act.

High Court judge Evans Hamaundu in his judgment dismissed the petition on grounds that it lacked merit and was wrongly taken to court.
Meanwhile, Imenda in her contribution to the budget debate questioned why some people were languishing in jail for speaking about the restoration of the Barotse Agreement.

She said there was nothing wrong for the youth to march in line with seeking the restoration of an agreement which was promised to them.

"Is it treason for people to ask for the restoration of an agreement? It's not criminal because it is part of the remedy available. People should honour what they promised. It's not fair," said Imenda.

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