Lusaka Province deputy commissioner of police Geoffrey Kunda was shocked that Activist Laura Miti and five others went ahead to assemble ahead of a demonstration at Parliament grounds despite being advised against doing so.
Kunda said he was surprised that Miti and the others did not heed to his advice to defer their planned demonstration to another alternative date.
He was testifying in a case in which Alliance for Community Action director Laura Miti, opposition PeP president Sean Tembo, musician Pilato are charged with failure to obey lawful orders.
The disobedience arose when the pressure group allegedly failed to obey a police order to leave Parliament road where they wanted to protest against Government’s decision to buy 42 fire tenders.
In his testimony, Kunda said on September 20 last year, he received notification from Miti over a planned demonstration at Parliament during budget presentation.
“I assessed the security situation at that time and it was not conducive,” he said.
Kunda then informed Miti that the date of their planned demonstration was not conducive because his office did not have enough manpower to provide security.
“I advised the applicant [Miti] to find another alternative day and she asked me to reduce that [proposal to hold the demonstration on another date] into writing,” he said.
Kunda wrote to Miti and the others on September 26 last year advising them to pick an alternative date for their protest.
He said he advised Miti and the others to get back to him.
“I was surprised to learn that the applicant [Miti] had proceeded on September 26 to assemble at Parliament,” he said.
Kunda said he was stunned because he was expecting feedback from Miti on the alternative date they had chosen to conduct their demonstration.
In cross examination, defence lawyer Keith Mweemba asked Kunda whether he breached the provisions of the Public Order Act when he failed to respond to Miti’s notification for the planned demonstrations within the stipulated five days before the event.
“I held a meeting with Miti and others informing them verbally to suggest an alternative date of protest,” he said in response.