Lawyer asks LAZ to challenge IG’s threat on democracy
By Bright Tembo(The Mast)
LUSAKA lawyer Celestin Mukandila says Inspector General of Police Graphael Musamba’s statement forbidding opposition political parties from holding public rallies goes against enshrined constitutional tenets of a democratic state.
In his letter to Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Lungisani Zulu, Mukandila said the statement must be challenged immediately, warning that failure to do so will erode fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
“Mr. President you will note that in line with the objects for which the Association is established as provided for in Section 4 (l) of the Law Association of Zambia Act Chapter 31 of the Laws of Zambia, the Association is mandated to seek the advancement of the rule of law and the rights and liberties of the individual,” he said. “Further, Article 20(1) as read together with Article 21(1) of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia guarantees the protection of the freedom of expression and the protection of freedom of assembly and association.”
He said the Supreme Court has on several occasions pronounced itself and guided on the inalienable constitutionally guaranteed rights as provided for in Part Three of the Constitution.
Mukandila asked LAZ to challenge the constitutionality of the statement that Musamba made as it abrogates the guaranteed constitutional rights of the opposition.
“Your Excellency, from the aforementioned provisions of the law and the decided Supreme Court decisions, the Law Association of Zambia must immediately challenge the constitutionality of the statement that the Inspector General of Police made as the said statement abrogates the guaranteed constitutional rights of the opposition political persons and proposes to threaten criminal prosecution of gatherings that may occur,” Mukandila said. “Your Excellency, I opine that the statement that was made goes against the tenets of Constitutionalism, the rule of law as well as the principles of a good democracy such as ours and promotes the advancements of a one-party state tendency which must be checked to protect our democracy and multi-partism we have achieved thus far.”
He reminded Zulu of the need for the opposition to mobilise as the country goes for a general election in two years’ time.
Mukandila said LAZ’s intervention in the defence of democracy was critical.
“Your Excellency, the Country is earmarked for general elections in the next two (2) years and such statements only prove a shrinking democratic space which curtails opposition political players from participating in a leveled playing field of this democratic process in offering alternative solutions to our country,’’ said Mukandila. ‘’Your Excellency, your intervention in defense of our democracy, rights, and individual liberties is in line with the mandate as the Law Association of Zambia is a necessity at present.”