PUBLIC ORDER ACT
Arrangement of Sections
1. Short title
3. Prohibition of uniforms and flags in connection with political objects
4. Prohibition of quasi-military organisations
5. Regulation of assemblies, public meetings and processions
6. Penalty for disobeying a direction or violating conditions of permit issued under section 5
7. Unauthorised assemblies
9. National anthem to be played at public meetings
10. Prohibition of weapons at public meetings and processions
11. Prohibition of offensive conduct conducive to breaches of peace
12. Powers for preservation of public order in respect of public meetings and processions
13. Penalty for making statements or doing acts intended to promote hostility between sections of community
14. Penalty for inciting to strike in certain circumstances
to prohibit the wearing of uniforms in connection with political objects and the maintenance by private persons of associations of military or similar character; and to make further provision for the preservation of public order.
[19th August, 1955]
Act 38 of 1955,
Act 17 of 1956,
Act 10 of 1959,
Act 28 of 1959,
Act 51 of 1960,
Act 19 of 1965,
Act 69 of 1965,
Act 10 of 1967,
Act 25 of 1969,
Act 51 of 1970,
Act 24 of 1977,
Act 28 of 1985,
Act 13 of 1994,
Act 1 of 1996,
Act 36 of 1996,
GN 230 of 1964,
GN 497 of 1964,
SI 8 of 1965,
SI 66 of 1965.
This Act may be cited as the Public Order Act.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“meeting” means a meeting held for the purpose of the discussion of matters of public interest or for the purpose of the expression of views on such matters;
“public meeting” includes any meeting in a public place and any meeting (whether or not in a building) which the public or any section thereof are permitted to attend, whether on payment or otherwise;
“public place” includes any highway, market place, square, road, street, bridge or other way which is lawfully used by the public, and any place, including a building, to which the public are for the time being entitled or permitted to have access either without any condition or upon the condition of making any payment;
“public procession” means a procession in a public place.
[“uniform” rep by s 2 of Act 1 of 1996.]
[S 2 am by Act 10 of 1959; GN 230 of 1964; SI 66 of 1965; Act 25 of 1969, 51 of 1970.]
[S 3 rep by s 3 of Act 1 of 1996.]
(1) If the members or adherents of any association of persons are—
(a) organised or trained or equipped for the purpose of enabling them to be employed in such a manner that such employment usurps or tends or appears to usurp the functions of the police or of the Defence Force; or
(b) organised and trained or organised and equipped either for the purpose of enabling them to be employed for the use or display of physical force in promoting any political object, or in such manner as to arouse reasonable apprehension that they are organised and either trained or equipped for that purpose;
then any person who takes part in the control or management of the association, or in so organising or training as aforesaid any members or adherents thereof, shall be guilty of an offence against this section:
Provided that, in any proceedings against a person charged with the offence of taking part in the control or management of such an association as aforesaid, it shall be a defence to that charge for him to prove that he neither consented to nor connived at the organisation, training or equipment of members or adherents of the association in contravention of the provisions of this section.
(2) No prosecution shall be instituted under this section without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
(3) If, upon application being made by the Director of Public Prosecutions, it appears to the High Court that any association is an association of which members or adherents are organised, trained or equipped in contravention of the provisions of this section, the court may make such order as appears necessary to prevent any disposition, without the leave of the court, of property held by or for the association, and in accordance with rules of court, which the Chief Justice is hereby empowered to make, may direct an inquiry and report to be made as to any such property as aforesaid and as to the affairs of the association, and may make such further orders as appear to the court to be just and equitable for the application of such property—
(a) in or towards the discharge of the liabilities of the association lawfully incurred before the date of the application or since that date with the approval of the court;
(b) in or towards the repayment of moneys to persons who became subscribers or contributors to the association in good faith and without knowledge of any such contravention as aforesaid;
(c) in or towards any costs incurred in connection with any such inquiry and report as aforesaid or in winding up or dissolving the association;
and may order that any property which is not directed by the court to be so applied as aforesaid shall be forfeited.
(4) In any criminal or civil proceedings under this section, proof of things done or of words written, spoken or published, whether or not in the presence of any party to the proceedings, by any person taking part in the control or management of an association or in organising, training or equipping members or adherents of an association shall be admissible as evidence of the purposes for which, or the manner in which, members or adherents of the association, whether those persons or others, were organised, or trained or equipped.
(5) If a Judge or a subordinate court of the first class is satisfied by information on oath that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that an offence against this section has been committed, and that evidence of the commission thereof is to be found at any premises or place specified in the information, he may, on an application made by a police officer, of or above the rank of Assistant Superintendent, grant a search warrant authorising any such officer named in the warrant together with any other persons specified in the warrant and any other police officers to enter the premises or place at any time within one month from the date of the warrant, if necessary by force, and to search the premises or place and every person found therein, and to seize anything found on the premises or place or on any such person which the officer has reasonable ground for suspecting to be evidence of the commission of such an offence as aforesaid:
Provided that no woman shall, in pursuance to a warrant issued under the provisions of this sub-section, be searched except by a woman.
[S 4 am by SI 66 of 1965.]
(1) The Inspector-General of Police may, by Gazette notice, appoint by name or office any police officer of or above the rank of Sub Inspector to be the regulating officer for the purposes of this section in respect of such area as the Inspector General may, by the same or any other Gazette notice, define.
(2) In any area in respect of which no police officer has been appointed to be the regulating officer under the provisions of sub-section (1), the District Secretary of the District in which such area is situated shall be the regulating officer for the purposes of this section:
Provided that in the absence of such District Secretary from his headquarters the senior Assistant District Secretary present at such headquarters may exercise the powers conferred upon a regulating officer by sub-sections (3) and (4).
(3) Any regulating officer may issue directions for the purpose of—
(a) regulating the extent to which music may be played on public roads and streets within his area on the occasion of festivities or ceremonies; or
(b) directing the conduct of assemblies and processions in any public place within his area, and the route by which and the times at which any procession may pass.
(4) Any person intending to assemble or to convene a public meeting, procession or demonstration shall notify the police in writing of such intent fourteen days before the meeting.
[S 5(4) subs by s 2 of Act 36 of 1996.]
(5) The notice required under subsection (4) shall be in the prescribed form and shall contain an under taking by the persons intending to assemble or convene a public meeting, procession or demonstration that order and peace shall be maintained through the observance of the following conditions:
(a) that they have been informed by the Police that the site for the meeting has not already been granted to another convener for the holding of a public meeting, procession or demonstration;
(b) that the route and the width of the route is suitable for the holding of processions in accordance with the width and route specifications for such purposes as specified by the Minister by statutory order;
(c) that marshals of a number sufficient to monitor the public meeting, procession or demonstration are available and shall co-operate with the police to ensure peace and order;
(d) that the commencement, duration and destination of the public meeting, procession or demonstration shall be notified to the Police;
(e) that the public meeting, procession or demonstration shall not create a risk to security or public safety, a breach of the peace or disaffection amongst the inhabitants of that neighborhood; and
(f) that the conveners of the meeting, procession or demonstration have been assured by the police that at the time the proposed activity shall be held it will be possible for it to be adequately policed.
[S 5(5) subs by s 4 of Act 1 of 1996.]
(6) Where it is not possible for the Police to adequately police any particular public meeting, procession or demonstration, the regulating officer of the area shall, at least five days before the date of the public meeting, procession or demonstration, inform the conveners of the public meeting, procession or demonstration in writing the reasons for the inability of the Police to police the public meeting, possession or demonstration and shall propose an alternative date and time for the holding of such public meting, procession or demonstration.
[S 5(6) subs by s 4 of Act 1 of 1996.]
(7) Where the Police notify the conveners of a public meeting, procession or demonstration that it is not possible for the Police to adequately police any proposed public meeting, procession or demonstration, such public meeting, procession or demonstration shall not be held.
[S 5(7) subs by s 4 of Act 1 of 1996.]
(8) If the conveners of the public meeting, procession or demonstration are unsatisfied with the reasons given by the regulating officer under subsection (6) they may immediately appeal to the Minister who shall decide and inform the conveners in writing of his decision on the matter within a period of five days.
[S 5(8) subs by s 4 of Act 1 of 1996.]
(9) Where any person is aggrieved by the decision of the Minister, that person may appeal that decision to the High Court within thirty days of the making of the decision.
[S 5(9) ins by s 4 of Act 1 of 1996.]
(10) The requirement for notification under subsection (4) shall not apply to a procession that is commonly or customarily held without Police involvement or is a funeral procession held in the normal course of such event.
[S 5(10) ins by s 4 of Act 1 of 1996.]
(11) The notice referred to under subsection (4) shall be delivered to a Police Station—
(a) in the case of a meeting, in the police area in which the meeting is to take place; or
(b) in the case of a procession or demonstration, in the police area in which the procession or demonstration is proposed to start.
[S 5 am by Act 10 of 1959, 28 of 1959, 51 of 1960, 19 of 1965; SI 8 of 1965; Act 69 of 1965,10 of 1967, 51 of 1970, 24 of 1977, 28 of 1985; s 5(11) ins by s 4 of Act 1 of 1996.]
Any person who—
(a) opposes or disobeys any direction issued under subsection (3) of section 5; or
(b) fails to comply with the provisions of subsection (4), (5) and (7) of section 5;
shall be guilty of the offence of taking part in an unlawful assembly under chapter IX of the Penal Code and be liable on conviction to the penalty provided under that Chapter.
[S 6 subs by s 5 of Act 1 of 1996.]
The Minister may make regulations for the better carrying out of the provisions of this Act.
[S 7 subs by s 6 of Act 1 of 1996.]
(1) The Minister may in his discretion exempt by order in writing any religious organisation from all or any of the provisions of sections five, seven and nine.
(2) Any exemption given under the provisions of sub-section (1) may be applied by the Minister either to the religious organisation generally in Zambia or to individual branches of such religious organisation operating within Zambia.
(3) Any exemption given under the provisions of this section may be made subject to such conditions as the Minister may impose and may at any time be varied or revoked by the Minister by order in writing.
[S 10 am by Act 10 of 1959; GN 230 of 1964; SI 66 of 1965; Act 10 of 1967.]
(1) The official national anthem shall be played or sung at the commencement of the business of every public meeting.
(2) Any person, who convenes, presides at, conducts or addresses any public meeting at which the official national anthem has not been played or sung pursuant to sub-section (1) shall be guilty of an offence.
(3) For the purposes of this section, “at the commencement of business” means the time when such public meeting is called to order, or declared open, as the case may be.
(1) Any person who, while present at any public meeting or on the occasion of any public procession, has with him any lethal weapon, otherwise than in pursuance of lawful authority, shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) For the purposes of this section, a person shall not be deemed to be acting in pursuance of lawful authority unless he is acting in his capacity as a public officer, or as a special constable, or as a member of a fire brigade.
[S 10 am by SI 66 of 1965.]
Any person who in any public place or at any public meeting uses threatening, abusive or insulting words with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or whereby a breach of the peace is likely to be occasioned, shall be guilty of an offence.
(1) If at any time the Minister is of opinion that, by reason of particular circumstances existing in Zambia or in any part thereof, the powers conferred by any other written law will not be sufficient to enable the police to prevent serious public disorder being occasioned by the holding of public processions or public meetings in Zambia or any part thereof, he may, by statutory order published in the Gazette and in such other manner as he may deem sufficient to bring the order to the knowledge of the general public in the area to which it relates, prohibit the holding within Zambia or any part thereof of all public processions or public meetings, or of any class of public processions or public meetings specified in the order, for such period not exceeding three months as may be so specified.
(2) An order made under sub-section (1) shall have effect from the time when it is first published in any manner authorised by the provisions of that sub-section or from such later time as may be specified in the order, and a certificate under the hand of the Minister specifying the time of publication, other than a publication in the Gazette, shall be conclusive evidence thereof in all legal proceedings.
(3) Any person who knowingly—
(a) organises or assists in organising any public procession or public meeting held or intended to be held in contravention of an order made under this section; or
(b) takes part in or attends, or incites any other person to take part in or attend, any such procession or meeting;
shall be guilty of an offence.
[S 12 am by GN 230 of 1964; SI 66 of 1965.]
(1) Any person who utters any words or does any act or thing whatever with intent to excite enmity between tribe and tribe or between one or more sections of the community on the one hand, and any other section or sections of the community on the other hand, or with intent to encourage any person or persons to do any act or acts or to omit to do any act or acts so as to defeat the purpose or intention of any law in force in Zambia or in any part thereof, shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) The Minister may order that during a period specified in the order a person convicted under sub-section (1) shall not enter or be in any area specified in the order or shall not enter or be in any place outside any area specified in such order.
(3) Any person acting in contravention of any order made in terms of sub-section (2) shall be guilty of an offence against this section and may be removed by warrant under the hand of the Minister from the place where such order prohibits him from being.
[S 13 am by SI 66 of 1965.]
Any person who wilfully and maliciously advises, encourages, incites, commands, aids or procures any other person to break any contract of a kind specified in section fifty-two or fifty- three of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act when the probable consequences of the breach would be of a nature specified in those sections, shall be guilty of an offence.
[S 14 am by Act 17 of 1956.]
(1) Any person who commits an offence against section four shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for six months or to a fine of three thousand penalty units or to both such imprisonment and fine, or, on conviction by the High Court, to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of fifteen thousand penalty units, or to both.
(2) Any person guilty of any offence against the provisions of this Act in respect of which no other penalty has been provided shall be liable to imprisonment for three months or to a fine of one thousand five hundred penalty units, or to both.
(3) A police officer may without warrant arrest any person reasonably suspected by him to be committing an offence against section three, ten, eleven or twelve.
[S 15 am by Act 10 of 1959, 13 of 1994.]