Lusaka, 22 March, 2021 / 5:15 pm (ACI Africa).
Months to the general elections in Zambia, Church leaders in the country have, in a collective statement, cautioned against curtailing rights and freedoms of citizens and groups in the Southern African nation.
In their collective statement ahead of the August 12 general elections, the members of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) express concerns about the selective application of the Public Order Act (POA), which seeks to safeguard freedom of association, expression, and the right to assemble.
“Zambia has experienced a situation where the Public Order Act (POA) has continued to be applied selectively to curtail the ability of opposition political parties to mobilize and publicize their manifestos and to shut up other players with contrary views from those of government and the party in power,” the Church leaders say in their March 19 statement.
They add, “The perception that law enforcement agents had been biased and only favoring individuals from the ruling party, is now a reality that is making non ruling party members take the law into their own hands.”
They express their condemnation for the selective application of law and order in Zambia and explain, “Incidents where police stand by and watch members of the ruling party destroying property belonging to citizens is dangerous because it has the potential to erode the reduced confidence people have in police protection.”