THE Law Association of Zambia says Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja’s order, barring police officers from marrying foreigners, is discriminatory and contravenes the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution.
In an internal memorandum dated January 11, 2017, Kanganja ordered police officers not to marry foreigners with immediate effect and he asked those who were already married to foreigners to “declare” them or face disciplinary action.
“Be informed that the police high command has with immediate effect directed that no police officer should marry a foreigner. Therefore, those already married to foreigners must declare their foreigner spouses to the Inspector General of Police within a period of one week effective this date failure to which will attract disciplinary action. All to comply and acknowledge receipt,” wrote Kanganja.
But in a statement issued yesterday, LAZ President Linda Kasonde stated that there was no law in existence that barred police officers from marrying foreigners.
Below is LAZ’s full statement:
LAZ PRESS STATEMENT DATED 31ST JANUARY 2017 ON THE DIRECTIVE BY THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE ON MARRYING FOREIGNERS
The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has received several queries from the media about the directive from the Inspector-General of Police instructing police officers not to marry foreigners and for those who are married to foreigners to declare their spouses to the Inspector-General. LAZ would like to advise that this directive clearly convenes the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution in the Bill of Rights that prohibits discrimination on thre basis of race, tribe, sex, place of origin, marital status, colour or creed. The directive in fact discriminates against Zambain police officers employed by the police service who have married or want to marry foreigners. Therefore, the directive is discriminatory on the basis of marital status.
Furthermore, Article 23 of the Constitution provides that any exceptions to the rule against discrimination provided for by Article 23 can only be made under a written law that is within the limits prescribed by the Constitution and not merely by a written directive by the Inspector-General which is not supported by the law. To our knowledge, there is no such law in existence. According to a police service spokesperson, the Inspector-General’s directive was a standing order made pursuant to section 3(2) of the Police Act which provides as follows:
“The Inspector-General may, subject to the general instructions of the Minister and to the provisions of this Act and any regulations made thereunder, from time to time make standing orders for the general government of police officers in relation to their training, arms and accoutrement, clothing and equipment, places of residence, classification and duties as well as to their distribution and inspection, and such other orders and instructions as he may deem expedient for preventing neglect and for promoting efficiency and discipline of police officers in the discharge of their duties”.
Nowhere in that provision does the law state that the Inspector-General has the power to make standing orders relating to the marital status of police officers.
LAZ is of the view that, if indeed the government has a justifiable reason for this directive that is one of the exceptions against the rule against discrimination provided by Article 23, such as any security concerns, it should create a written law providing for that exception. We therefore urge the Inspector-General to revisit his decision.