— Rights Commission clears air over training of defence personnel

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—The Permanent Human Rights Commission (PHRC) says training of defence personnel in Public Order Act management is non partisan.


HRC Coordinator for Southern Province, Kims Banda says the training programme has been has nothing to do with recent concerns raised by the opposition.


Mr. Banda says the ongoing countrywide training of regulating police officers especially on the Public Order Act is part of the Commission’s strategic plan  to be launched soon.


ZANIS reports that the HRC Coordinator for Southern Province said this in an interview in Livingstone, today.


Mr. Banda stressed that familiarizing regulating police officers on various contents of the amended Public Order Act ahead of the 2016 General Elections was vital so that the general populace could enjoy their rights.


So far, some police officers above the rank of inspector have been trained in Lusaka while their counterparts in Livingstone will undergo three days training next week.


"As you may be aware, in 2016 we will be having Presidential and parliamentary elections so we thought it would be best to start these trainings now to ensure people have the full enjoyment of the right to assembly and expression as provided for in the Constitution," he said.



Mr. Banda said the training being done in collaboration with the Zambia Police Service and the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes ( SACCORD) had been well received by the targeted police officers.



He further said after training police officers countrywide, political parties and other key stakeholders would be also be engaged.


The opposition has in the recent past accused the police service of being subjective in the manner they implemented the provisions of the Public Order Act.