The United Party for National Development (UPND) has maintained that it will proceed with its planned rally tomorrow, arguing that the police had no constitutional powers to deny the party the right to assemble and associate.
Meanwhile, UPND is seeking judicial review in the High Court over the decision by the police to cancel the rally that was supposed to be held tomorrow in Kanyama Township in Lusaka.
But Lusaka Province police chief Solomon Jere said police had the legal mandate to cancel a notice after it had been issued and if people assemble, the meeting becomes an unlawful assembly.
UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said in an interview yesterday that according to the Constitution, the party had the right to assemble and associate, provided they notified the police.
He said the party did not need to ask for a permit from the police as asking for a permit was an infringement on the freedom of expression.
"Asking for a permit from police for us to assemble is like asking for the police to permit us to talk and this is an infringement on the freedom of expression," Mr Kakoma said.
He said the Supreme Court passed a ruling in the past that if political parties wanted to hold rallies, they needed to notify the police and not ask for a permit.
Mr Kakoma said the excuse that the police service does not have eneough manpower to police the rally because of the football match in Ndola was not justified.
The soccer match in Ndola, he said, could not affect the event in Lusaka as there were many police officers in Ndola to police the people who would be watching the game at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Mr Kakoma said the Patriotic Front (PF) used to hold rallies and no one used to stop them from doing so.
However, Dr Jere said section 74 of the penal code gave the police a legal mandate to stop the gathering.
He said if the party proceeded with the meeting, it would be unlawful assembly.
He avised UPND members to respect the law, adding that those who would attend the rally would be doing so at their own peril.
"We have the right to withdrawal a notice and it should not be debatable. There are security concerns that we considered," Dr Jere said.
Two weeks ago police gave UNPD a go-ahead to hold a rally in Lusaka, scheduled for tomorrow in Kanyama Township.
Party legal counsel Jack Mwiimbu, in his ex-parte summons for leave to apply for judicial review pursuant to Order number 53 Rule 3 of the Supreme Court Practice, also asked the court to order that the application sought should operate as a stay of the police's decision to cancel their rally.
Mr Mwiimbu said the party was seeking another order to quash the decision by Dr Jere to cancel the UPND rally.
He said as a result of the purported cancellation of the rally, the party had suffered huge expenses incurred during preparations for it.
And in an affidavit signed by the party's acting secretary general Walusiku Walusiku Lyambela, Dr Jere informed him that he had no objection to the holding of the rally on the said date after they notified the police on August 22 this year.
Mr Lyambela said on August 30 the Zambia Police Service responded by requesting a list of speakers and marshals to manage the gathering and that on September 3, Dr Jere said he had no objection to the holding of the rally on September 9.
He said as a result of Dr Jere's response, the UPND proceeded to make arrangements to hold the rally through advertisements, payments to entertainers, transporters and other logistics, making the party incur huge expenses in preparations.
Mr Lyambela said the party came to learn of the cancellation of the rally through news read on ZNBC on Thursday on grounds that the police would not be able to provide security because they would be covering the football match in Ndola today.
He said the police did not give the UPND an opportunity to be heard over the cancellation of the rally and were only served with a letter outlining the purported reasons for the cancellation.