By Leah Ngoma
ActionAid Zambia is hopeful that government will engage in wider stakeholder consultation in the process of amending the public order act to ensure that it reflects the views of the people and advances democracy and human rights in Zambia.
Reacting to the decision by cabinet to approve the introduction of a bill that seeks to amend the public order act chapter 113 of the laws of Zambia, ActionAid Zambia Country Director Nalucha Ziba is confident that the amendment of the act will end the era of using this piece of legislation to shrink democratic spaces and hinder citizens from exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to assemble and associate.
Mrs Ziba is concerned that the public order act still remains a tool that ruling parties have continued to use
She has since urged government to accelerate the process of repealing and replacing this act and hopes that detailed timeframes will be shared in due course for the same.
Meanwhile, Chapter One Foundation has also commended cabinet decision to approve in principle the introduction of a bill in parliament to amend the public order act.
Chapter One Foundation Executive Director Linda Kasonde however states that while her organization commends cabinet for its approval of the introduction in parliament of a bill to amend the act, government should be reminded that such an undertaking should follow an inclusive process that takes into consideration best practices obtained through wide consultations with citizens, experts and civil society actors.