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No law empowers police to regulate media – ADDBy Mirriam Chabala on 19 Jul 2017
Alliance for Development and Democracy (ADD) president Charles Milupi says it is outside the law for police to be regulating the media and closing down publications under the Threatened State of Emergency.
And Milupi says police have continued to infringe upon the rights of citizens because the judicial system has been compromised.
Speaking to News Diggers! in an interview, Milupi said the police had no mandate according to the law to regulate any publication saying that the rights of every citizen remained intact even with the declaration of the Threatened State of Emergency.
“I think what can guide us is the statement from Linda kasonde of the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) because she has clearly explained or LAZ has clearly explained that under the proclamation of a Threatened State of Emergency done under Article 31, the basic fundamental rights of citizens have not ben abolished and among those rights is the right of expression, the right of assembly, the right of movement and so on,” Milupi said.
“So that is what we will go by, that under Article 31 the proclamation is still done but the constitutional rights of people remain intact. So I don’t know what the Inspector General of police is talking about [and] I believe Mr kanganja is a lawyer so he needs to look at the Constitution and the laws of this country to ensure that the rights of people under this Threatened State of Emergency are not infringed upon.”
Milupi observed that police would be acting outside the law if they dared to control the media during the Threatened State of Emergency.
“We are hearing so many things. First of all the Minister of Home Affairs [Stephen Kampyongo] said that even PF cadres can arrest people now, that is clearly outside the law and to threaten the regulation of publications again that is clearly outside the law. What we ask the police is for them to be careful. You know government or maybe Mr Lungu was very careful not to declare a State of Emergency under Article 30 but chose to do a Threatened State of Emergency under 31 and under 31 it clears stipulates what they can and cannot do. And one of the things they can not do is to take away the rights of citizens. And to regulate the press by the police outside the law is to infringe upon the rights of citizens,” Milupi said.
“But sometimes they just say that knowing that Zambians don’t read, Zambians are very easy to frighten and they will get want they want just by frightening people. You will understand that even when this Threatened State of Emergency was carried out, already there were some people whose movements were restricted, at 18 hours they were indoors because we Zambians fear authority so much that even when they are infringing upon our own rights we can’t take them to task.”
Meanwhile, Milupi observed that the judiciary had been comprised and that it was only working to please the government.
“You see, that is why we always ask for an independent judiciary which is brave so that they can interpret the law not in the manner that the President wants it but in a way that the law is framed. If you look at Article 31 and read through it, it does not give government the right to do the things they are talking about and that’s what we need to go by and if we have an independent judiciary, government will be losing many of these cases and that is why we fight against this compromised judiciary,” said Milupi.
About Mirriam Chabala
Mirriam Chabala is a Zambian journalist who covers current affairs and writes in-depth feature articles on social issues.
Email: mirriam [at] diggers [dot] news
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