THE United Party for National Development (UPND) is today scheduled to conduct its political procession to protest against phased enactment of the new Constitution which would see the non-contentious clauses go through an amendment Bill in Parliament.
But the Zambia Police have cautioned UPND that while it had allowed the opposition political party to go ahead with its protests, its leadership and marshals should ensure that there would be law and order during the process.
UPND deputy secretary general Kuchunga Simusamba told the Daily Nation that the opposition political party would be protesting the phased manner of enacting the new Constitution and would be demanding that the entire Draft Constitution should be subjected to the referendum.
Mr Simusamba said it was possible for the country to enact the new Constitution through a referendum before the 2016 general elections and that all what was needed was the political will.
He said Zimbabwe managed to hold a referendum just before its elections and that Zambia was no different and would be able to have a new Constitution before the general elections next year.
Mr Simusamba said the UPND had totally rejected that the non-contentious clauses such as the 50+1 percent and the running mate should be subjected to the referendum, contrary to their position in 2011 when they demanded that the two clauses should go through amendments.
He said it was possible for the country to have a new Constitution before the 2016 general elections and that his party was not going to accept piecemeal amendments because the route had been tried before without success. “We are going ahead with our protest tomorrow and our procession will start from the main Post Office in town to the Freedom Statute. We are opposed to the piecemeal enactment of the constitution and we are demanding that the 50+1 percent and the running mate be subjected to the referendum. We are demanding that the entire Draft Constitution be subjected to the referendum and it is possible to have a new Constitution before 2016 general elections. It happened in Kenya and Zimbabwe and all we need in Zambia is political will.’’
Lusaka Province police commissioner Charity Katanga said the police had never denied the UPND their right to conduct their political processions but that on many occasions, the opposition political party had not met the conditions, of the Public Order Act.
Ms Katanga said the UPND had only been stopped from conducting their political procession when they breached the Public Order Act but that as long as they would comply, the police would always allow them to conduct their processions.
She said it was the expectation of the police that the UPND would observe law and order in their procession and that they should not be carried away by mob psychology and go out of bounds of the provision of the law.
Ms Katanga said police have advised the UPND to find enough marshals but stated that it was the duty of the police to ensure there was total adherence to the law by any political or civil organisation.
“We have never denied the UPND their right to assemble or conduct their political processions. All we have asked from them is to notify the police and we have allowed them to have their processions. But they have been doing is that they have been advertising that their leader would be visiting markets from Kalingalinga to Mtendere and from Chelstone to Kaunda Square and such processions are either assemblies or public and political meetings which require police notification. So as they protest tomorrow (tomorrow), they must strictly adhere to the law and it is our mandate to police them,” Ms Katanga said.