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Police unmask the bias unprofessionalism in permit insurance

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Police unmask the bias unprofessionalism in permit insurance

Police in Lusaka have exposed their deep-rooted bias, unprofessionalism and double standards in the application of the Public Order Act, with regard to the issuance of permits to political players.

Last week, police denied United Party for National Development (UPND) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) youths permit to hold a peaceful rally, on Friday, October 9 at Freedom Statue in Lusaka, citing lack of manpower as police officers were engaged in other national duties.

Today, ruling Patriotic Front (PF) youths are holding a rally in Kafue to launch what they call, “2021 President Edgar Lungu endorsement”, to be graced by Lusaka Province chairperson Paul Moonga and other senior party officials.

Lusaka Province youth chairperson Daniel Kalembe confirmed in an interview that the rally would be held today, Sunday, October 11, in Kafue district. However, Kalembe said he was unable to attend the rally because has had travelled to North Western Province for a bereavement.

Moonga had his phone off by Press time.

And When contacted to know whether or not the PF youths had been given a permit, Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo declined to comment and referred all queries to Lusaka Province police commissioner Nelson Phiri.

“Ask the Lusaka (Province police) Commissioner. Since Kafue is under Lusaka, I think the Commissioner should know whether they (PF youths) have a permit, in fact, if there was a notification,” Katongo darted.

But when reminded that she is police service spokesperson who should have known whether or not the PF youths obtained a permit to hold a public gathering, Katongo got into a hysteria, grew cold feet – and insisted that all queries be directed to the Lusaka Province police commissioner.

Exhibiting similar style to that of Katongo, Phiri instead told Daily Revelation to ask the PF youths whether or not they have a permit.

“Just ask them, ask them (if they got a permit), Phiri retorted.
When reminded that it is important to first inquire from the police, being the authority that issue permits to political parties in line with the Public Order Act, Phiri responded: “You know what? First of all, an initiator is the person who wants to convene (a public gathering or rally), so ask them whether they have the permit. Don’t ask me.”

There have been myriad of complaints from the general public, especially opposition political parties in the way police behave with regard to the application of the Public Order Act, vis-à-vis issuance of permits to political players to hold public gatherings such as rallies. It has been observed by the general public that the ruling PF do not get permit or notify the police to hold public rallies across the country, while the opposition, despite notifying the police, are denied permit to hold rallies or gather in the quest to mobilise.

-Zambian Observer

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