The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections says police officers need more training on human rights and in-depth Public Order Act knowledge to enhance good governance in Zambia.

According to a statement issued by JCTR media and information officer Tendai Posiana on Saturday, organisation executive director Father Emmanuel Mumba said enhanced awareness on the POA provisions would facilitate fairer enforcement of the law by the police.

Posiana stated that Father Mumba was speaking when he officially opened a meeting with Political Parties where he encouraged them to carefully study the Public Order Act in order for them to have a common understanding on October 05, 2017 in Lusaka.

“Father Mumba is preaching a need to conduct training of police officers on human rights and in depth Public Order Act (POA) knowledge. Father Mumba believes that engagement and enhanced awareness on POA provision will facilitate fairer enforcement [of the law]. He said building capacity among police officers will enhance democratic good governance in Zambia,” Posiana stated.

She stated that Father Mumba encouraged political parties and all concerned citizens to carefully study the POA to avoid crying foul once found wanting.

“Father Mumba implored political parties and Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) to diligently collaborate as shared ideas on the gaps that will strengthen the Public Order Act and invariably facilitate good democratic governance of Zambia. ‘Political parties must have a driving force when it comes to review the Public Order Act and make meaningful submissions. We need to show willingness to facilitate amendments of the provision in the act’.” The Public Order Act has been one of the most contentious topical piece of legislation both in its content and implementation in Zambia. Father Mumba said both the police, political parties and all concerned citizens must study the act to avoid crying foul once found wanting,” stated Posiana.

And the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) represented by party national secretary Nathan Mulonga commended JCTR for taking a lead in building political parties understanding on the submissions and provisions of the public order act.

“Mr Mulonga urged JCTR to intensify political ‘a just Zambian society guided by faith, where everyone enjoys fullness of life’ party’s engagement with Zambia Police Service in order to provide effective checks and balances and common interests,” stated Posiana.

Meanwhile, Movement for Multi-Party Democracy national secretary Rapheal Nakacinda pledged political parties participation in the JCTR POA reform process through the Zambia Centre for Inter-Party Dialogue.

JCTR through its Faith and Justice Programmes Officer Llyod Bwalya urged political parties to ensure that they mobilised members to actively participate in the awareness meetings.