Zambia:The President Should Rescind the Decision to Deploy Defence Forces By Henry Kyambalesa

  • Our brother President Edgar C. Lungu needs to promptly rescind his decision todeploy defence forces to quell political violence expected to be perpetrated byunruly supporters of citizens vying for elective positions in government ahead ofthe August 12, 2021 general elections. He should do so for two important reasons.Firstly, the gallant members of our defence forces are not trained to observe therights and freedoms of the citizenry guaranteed by the Republican constitutionand are, therefore, likely to violate such rights and freedoms. As such, thePresident will do well to guard himself against being indicted by the InternationalCourt of Justice for any atrocities which are likely to be committed by somemembers of the defence forces.Secondly, the deployment of our beloved country’s defence forces to deal withdomestic issues and matters other than public emergencies and national disastersmay not be constitutional. The Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) No. 2 of2016 stipulates the following as the Constitutional functions of the DefenceForces and the Zambia Police Service:Article 192: (2) The Defence Force shall—(a) preserve and defend the sovereignty andterritorial integrity of the Republic; (b) foster harmony and understandingbetween the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force, an auxiliary unit and members ofsociety; and (c) cooperate with State organs and State institutions in times ofpublic emergencies and national disasters.Article 193: (2) The Zambia Police Service shall—(a) protect life and property; (b) preservepeace and maintain law and order; (c) ensure the security of the people; (d) detectand prevent crime; (e) uphold the Bill of Rights; (f) foster and promote goodrelationships with the Defence Force, other national security services andmembers of society; and (g) perform other functions as prescribed.Article 195:(1) The President may deploy personnel of the Defence Force outside theRepublic.
  • 2(2) Where the President deploys personnel of the Defence Force outside theRepublic, the President shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable, inform theNational Assembly of the deployment. (Note: The National Assembly iscurrently dissolved.)However, the President has unquestionable authority to deploy the ZambiaParamilitary Battalion, an auxiliary unit of the Zambia Police Service, to reinforcethe work of the Zambia Police Service in maintaining law and order. There is agood reason why we have the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry ofDefence as separate cabinet-level units of the Executive branch of government
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