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UPND takes POA to rights body

UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) will petition Government to international human rights institutions for allegedly suppressing them using the Public Order Act (POA)
But chief government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili says the UPND are free to report anywhere because they were the architects of the POA they are now condemning.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, UPND chairperson of energy Garry Nkombo accused Government of restricting UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s movements using the POA.
This follows police action to summon and question Mr Hichilema for allegedly breaching the POA last week over a fracas that occurred involving UPND cadres in Kamwala when the UPND leader visited the area.
Mr Nkombo said UPND members of Parliament would appeal to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the United Nations Human Rights Council if the police continue suppressing movements of its party officials.
On Monday, speaking on behalf of Mr Hichilema soon after the UPND leader appeared before police, party chairperson for legal and constitutional affairs Jack Mwiimbu said: “The matter has been resolved and, in future, we will inform police. We agreed to abide by the provisions of the Public Order Act.”
Lusaka Province commissioner of police Charity Katanga said Mr Hichilema had been summoned not because he had visited the market but due to the fracas that ensued involving UPND cadres.
But Mr Kambwili said yesterday that the UPND are free to go to the SADC or UN Human Rights Council to report.
“Why should they even threaten? Let them go ahead. There is nothing sinister with the POA. It has always been like that. In fact, it is the same UPND and MMD that amended the POA to its current form. We were not in Parliament at that time,” he said in an interview.
Mr Kambwili, who is Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, said the UPND must be grateful because Government does not interfere with police.
He said Mr Hichilema breached the POA because he allegedly went to incite people in Kamwala to rise against Government.
He said Mr Hichilema should be realistic.
“He broke the law with impunity and our police simply advised him to follow the law. This is how good this Government is,” Mr Kambwili said.

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