Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) Executive Director Lewis Mwape says Parliament should not entertain calls to extend the Threatened State of Public Emergency.
In a statement today, Mwape said extending the Threatened State of Public Emergency would affect the country’s social, political and economic development.
“We therefore call on Parliament not to entertain proposals to have the Threatened State of Public Emergency extended, as this would lead to further abuse of human rights, which in turn would affect the country’s Social, Political and Economic development. It would further continue denting the image of our country to the international community, which is reputed as a democratic and peaceful nation,” Mwape stated.
Mwape stated that the invocation of Article 31 had violated fundamental human rights.
“We have witnessed and noted with sadness the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms such as freedoms of assembly, association, expression and the right to speed and fair trial, by the state during this period of the Threatened State of Public Emergency, using the police service,” he stated.
“Using the Threatened State of Public Emergency, the state through the police service has arbitrarily arrested and detained citizens who have expressed their views against some decisions made by the government, for longer periods of time without being charged. An example is the recent arrest of citizens who protested against the procurement of 42 fire tenders at the cost of $42 million.”
Mwape stated that the basis for the re-invocation of Article 31 no longer existed.
“While we acknowledge and respect the freedom of expression of opinion by some stakeholders calling for the extension of the Threatened State of Public Emergency, we wish to state categorically that we are against these proposals as the basis for the re-invocation of Article 31 no longer exists; hence our call on Parliament NOT to entertain any calls from those calling for extension of the Threatened State of Public Emergency,” stated Mwape.
“The Threatened State of Public Emergency was declared by republican President, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu on July 5, 2017 by invocation of Article 31 of the constitution, with the approval of Parliament on July 11, 2017, which led to the proclamation that a situation existed that threatened a State of Public Emergency. This was after the fire that gutted some public places with the latest being the Lusaka City Market.”