Former Works and Supply Minister Mike Mulongoti says banning of political parties from holding public rallies is not a solution to avoiding violent clashes during by election campaigns.
Mr Mulongoti said this will infringe on the rights to access information on the part of citizens and a hindrance to freedom of expression on the part of political parties.
Mr Mulongoti told ZANIS Ndola in a telephone interview today that abolishing political rallies on whatever occasions will only make it difficult for political parties to get their manifestos and sell themselves to members of the public.
He urged the Zambia Police Service not to enforce such a law but first liaise with political party leaders and stakeholders in order to find a lasting solution to violence during campaigns.
Mr Mulongoti added that banning political parties from holding public rallies will be uncalled for because not all political parties in the country are involved in the violent cases been recorded.
He further appealed to the police to check on the two parties that clashed in Livingstone in order to establish a better way of handling this case other than banning all political parties’ country wide from holding rallies.
And UPND Trustee in Charge for Presidential Affairs Cornwell Sakala said Zambia is a democratic country which should allow its political parties to express themselves freely.
Mr Sakala said public rallies by political parties is the only mode that they use to communicate with people and if the police decide to completely ban them from campaigning publicly then the freedom of speech and information will be suppressed.
He said this act is unacceptable because if people are suppressed then democracy is also suppressed.
Mr Sakala further said that banning political rallies will not in any way help to alleviate violent cases recorded but will add more confusion.
The Zambia Police Service has banned political parties from holding public rallies as a measure of controlling violence as witnessed in both the Mpongwe and Livingstone by-elections.
This was contained in a statement issued by Zambia Police Deputy Inspector General Solomon Jere.