CIVIL rights activist Laura Miti says the Yellow Card Movement Peaceful Day of Reflection will proceed as planned, saying there is no law that requires citizens to be registered for them to gather.
Police, in a letter dated October 30, 2020, refused to grant the Yellow Card Movement its request to hold a peaceful protest on grounds that the movement is not registered with the Registrar of Societies or any relevant government institution.
“Be informed that the (Lusaka) Command received your letter of notification dated 21st October 2020 in which you sought for notification for a Peaceful Day of Reflection to be held on 1st November 2020 on behalf of a group called Yellow Card Movement. Take note that the Registrar of Societies was notified through the Ministry Home affairs as to ascertain whether such movement exists or not. In the same vein, we have been guided by the Ministry of Home Affairs that the office of the Registrar of Societies was indeed engaged to establish as to whether the movement is registered or not with any relevant government authorities or institutions,” read the letter signed by Donald Mwandila, the deputy commissioner of police.
“However, it has been established that the movement is not registered with any government institution and as such, its operations are illegal. With this development, the onus is upon the Yellow Card Movement to show proof that it is a registered entity without which your request for, or notification is not granted or noted.”
However, Miti said the letter was unlawful and that the government was just using the police to prevent citizens from gathering.
“It’s an unlawful letter because there is no law that says that for citizens to gather, you must be registered. So we are just in an environment in which the government is using the police and using all sorts of excuses, some of them utterly ridiculous to prevent citizens from gathering, which is extremely unfortunate,” Miti said.
She further said the protest would proceed and the public would be kept informed.
“We will proceed, we will let the police know that their letter is entirely unlawful and then we will keep the public informed,” said Miti.