The Impact of the Public Order Act on the Freedoms of Speech, Assembly and Association.
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The existence of the Public Order Act (POA) has been seen by a broad section of the Zambia populace as an obstacle to the enjoyment of political rights such as the freedom of speech, assembly and association and the deepening of the democratic process in Zambia. The Public Order Act, inherited from the colonial government, has been widely seen as a mere tool by the government in power to suppress political dissent and discourage civil society from actively participating in matters of national interests. The Police Force has been used by the Government in power to deny permits to the opposition and civil society to hold meetings and many citizens have been arrested in the past on trumped up charges in connection with the Public Order Act. What has been the impact of the POA on constitutional rights in Zambia since independence? Can the POA be reformed? Can the Zambian legal system alone be counted on to offer solutions to this problem? What must be done to maintain the balance between upholding law and order on the one hand, and upholding the constitutional right of freedom of speech, assembly and association on the other?
- Law