By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
Governance Elections Advocacy and Research Services (GEARS) has urged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders to advocate for the repealing of old laws that infringe the spaces for civic and political participation.
GEARS Executive Director MacDonald Chipenzi said old laws like the Public Order Act of 1955 and the Penal Code of 1938 are meant to infringe on people’s freedoms and are not in good standing with the Democratic process of the country.
Speaking to journalists in Kitwe recently, Mr Chipenzi said Zambia needs a strong CSO movement that would expose such laws adding that there is need for the CSO to stand together and make sure the regime does not advantage of the these laws.
Mr Chipenzi said if the old laws continue to exist the Civic and political space would continue to shrink as if the country is still in colonial days.
He said political parties and the civil society are currently having challenges whenever they speak out because those in authority take advantage and use outdated laws.
“As long as these laws continue to exist the Civic and political spaces will continue to shrink. People no longer gather and exchange ideas because they are been chased by the old POA and the Penal Code. Zambia is still using old laws that can be used by the regime at any time.
“Civil society will not allow the Cyber space bill to be developed in a dark room like you are developing a photograph. Zambians need to be aware of the content of the Cyber space bill adding that civil society want a law that will be transparently developed,” he said.
Mr Chipenzi urged citizens to participate in the review of the POA and the refinement of the republican constitution if the country is to develop.
The Zambian Government had mapped this course of wanting to give its people more freedom which in turn could have seen the suppression of the infamous POA.
The mapping out was done through a constitutional referendum held on 11 August 2016 alongside general elections.
The move was designed to reduce the cost of the referendum. Voters were asked whether they approve of proposed amendments to the bill of rights and Article 79, which dictates the process of future amendments.
But Mr Chipenzi was against the approval and went flat-out with UPND cohorts to ensure the referendum flopped thereby disadvantaging Zambian people and himself.
Today he comes back under CSO demanding for repealing of old laws.