CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka
STATE House says the invocation of Article 31 has curbed cases of arson in the country.
Special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda said that cases of arson, which were rampant, have gone down and police are recording fewer cases of attempted destruction of public institutions.
Mr Chanda was speaking in Lusaka yesterday during a press briefing in Lusaka.
President Lungu invoked Article 31 of the Zambian Constitution on July 5, 2017 to give law enforcement agencies more power to deal with arson and sabotage.
This followed a spate of burning down of public and private property such as markets and courthouses in some parts of the country.
Mr Chanda has also dispelled assertions that Government directed the police to stop the opposition United Party for Nati o n a l Development from holding prayers and conducting their membership card renewal exercise.
“The police have informed us that it has not stopped the UPND card renewal exercise and even if police had stopped the opposition political party, they would have been guided to allow the UPND to go ahead with the two meetings,” Mr Chanda said.
He said the police have been under pressure to ensure that public security is safeguarded and that Zambians’ rights are not infringed on.
Mr Chanda said the police have been encouraged to express good judgement adding that government regrets the stopping of the prayers and that was why upon learning of it, he engaged the police and the matter has been resolved.
Mr Chanda said State House does not instruct the police on what to do but that the public must appreciate that police work under pressure and this time around they used wrong judgement.
Mr Chanda has since called on political stakeholders and the opposition to exercise responsibility and engage the police in a civil manner to add to the political stability of the country.
“We do not instruct police on what to do. The police work for all of us and we must support them because they work for all of us. Let us avoid incidences that will allow the police to be defensive,” Mr Chanda said.
And the Patriotic Front (PF) has distanced itself from assertions by the United Party for National Development (UPND) that the PF is responsible for the cancellation of the thanksgiving prayers which were scheduled for last Thursday, reports DOREEN NAWA in Lusaka.
PF secretary general Davies Mwila said the cancellation was done by the police without any interference, and reasons for doing so were given.
This is contained in a statement issued by PF media director Sunday Chanda yesterday.
Mr Mwila said the PF has been consistently praying for a day when the UPND would understand the need for prayer in a Christian nation like Zambia.
And Mr Mwila said the UPND is well aware that police are not a branch of the PF and their decisions are done independently in line with their profession.