EXAMPLES abound on the effects of the circulation of false statements but the most referred to is the Rwanda Genocide but still some community leaders seem willing to take the risk.The Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja has warned Traditional leaders and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that are in the habit of uttering careless and alarming statements to immediately stop or risk facing the wrath of the law.Some statements border on inciting anarchy in the country, while the authors show no care at the possible consequences.Zambia is generally known to be a haven of peace although the ‘Gassing’ incidents did bring to light some of the ugly aspects of society.Zambia cannot afford to lose its longstanding peace and especially not over issues that are being misrepresented by community leaders.Such behavior has the potential to light fuses that will see the country descend into turmoil.Mr Kanganja has warned that the Police shall not watch any individual, irrespective of their standing in society, or grouping to champion anarchy in the country.He said of late, there had been a lot of careless statements being uttered or published by some sectors of society, in which the traditional leadership and CSOs were making alarming remarks bordering on inciting anarchy in Zambia.“I wish to remind all those in the habit of issuing such statements that, as Zambia Police, we have been mandated by the Constitution of Zambia to ensure that public order is safeguarded, therefore, shall not watch any individual, irrespective of their standing in society, or grouping champion anarchy in the country.
“All those that have been issuing such statements are advised to stop the practice forthwith or face the wrath of the law,” Mr Kanganja warned.
He said tolerance has got a limit, and the police shall not allow anyone to plunge the country into chaos.The IG further warned that a continuation of the trend shall compel the police to move in to execute their ‘mandate’ accordingly.Very often the phrase “the long arm of the law” is used to describe police action.Police are guided by the 1955 Public Order Act that has in itself raised some concerns as to the objectives of the Police Service.Very often public discourse takes a political stance and pits one group against the other.A University of Zambia researcher proposed that for the Public Order Act to be more effective in preventing political conflicts there was need for some amendments to be made to the Act rather completely repealing it.Gibson Banda concluded that there was need to conduct more education and sensitisation on police officers and political party members on the provisions and proper administration of the Act. Following the objectives and the findings of his study, the research made some recommendations that: included that the Act should provide for a clear appeal procedure in the event of a dispute; the Act should also make a clear distinction between public gatherings that are held indoors and those that are held outdoors; more sensitization campaigns on the provisions of the Act; need to improve on the accessibility of the Act; and finally there was need to improve on the requirements of notice for the holding of a public gathering or procession.The Public Order Act has created a general opinion that members of the public are not able to gather in public to air their grievances and this may have led to the rise in sensationalism by some through the issuance of inflammatory statements.It is unfortunate that some would take this route to gain public attention and they must not complain when the law catches up with them.
Mr Kanganja said preservation of peace demanded collective responsibility, hence it was a duty of every citizen to play a role in promoting it.