Political leaders are issuing public statements aimed at misleading the public-Says IG

LIBONGANI_STELLAPress statement by the Inspector General of Police
The Zambia police has noted with great dismay the propensity by some political leaders to issue public statements which are aimed at misleading the general public. These statements are in most cases not only false but also have the potential to divide the country on partisan lines or place of origin.
Some of the statements are alarming to the nation. Others are bent on inciting anger, hatred, ridicule or contempt to the duly elected head of state.The police have been aware of all these activities and at all times have fully investigated these statements. However, the police has been restrained from instituting criminal proceedings in the interest of maintaining peace and order in the nation. It’s not the interest of the police to see fellow citizens being arrested, detained or indeed sent to prisons. In such matters we have always considered arrest as our last resort.

we will apply the law fair and firmly and this should not be seen as political harassement.

However if people do not change and want to remain adamant by committing crimes and causing public disorder or hatred against others, we will apply the law fair and firmly and this should not be seen as political harassement.

We are fully aware that during a rally in Lusaka’s Kabwata township some speakers made several unsubstantiated statements which are criminal in nature.Statements such as those alleging that the president and his government are violent and are bringing disorder in the country or that the president has allocated k1.5 billion to the first lady’s office without explaining to the public how budget processes or creation of budget lines is done by government is only meant to bring hatred and contempt. This kind of behaviour has been exhibited at different fora.

Today(15th February 2013) while featuring on the UNZA radio the leader of United Party for National Development made some allegations to the effect that there is a mini state of emergency in Western province and that people are being detained secretly .This is not true.

It is also not true that the police have not been accepting notifications for them to hold rallies or processions.The police in the interest of maintaining law and order has always given advise to the UPND depending on the situation and whether or not the notification conforms to the law.Where the notifications have been in conformity with the law and there are no other impendiments police have allowed the party to proceed.For instance they were allowed to proceed with a procession to parliament and present thier petition.

The police therefore wishes to warn political players and the general public to avoid committing crimes in the name of freedom of expression by issuing statements that have the potential to divide the country or bring hatred.Freedom of expression is not absolute even under the constitution and as such it must be exercised with the responsibility that it deserves.

Stella M. Libongani
Inspector General of Police