ZANU-PF Blocks Passage in Zimbabwe Senate of Public Order Act Revision
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa halted the second Senate reading of the
Public Order and Security Act Amendment Bill saying it was not properly
tabled and that POSA is still a matter of party negotiations
Violet Gonda & Sithandekile Mhlanga | Washington
Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa halted the second Senate reading
of a law amending the Public Order and Security Act, saying it was not
properly tabled and that POSA remains a subject of negotiations in Harare’s
national unity government
The proposed POSA amendments were moved by Innocent Gonese, chief whip of
the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai. He said the amendment bill had already passed in the House of
Assembly and was now before the Senate for consideration. The legislation
would reduce police powers.
Lawmakers want to bring POSA into line with the constitution on issues of
freedom of assembly and association. Zimbabwe’s police have often used POSA,
which defenders of human rights consider draconian, to prohibit public and
Gonese told VOA Studio 7 reporter Violet Gonda that he will re-introduce the
bill if talks among the co-governing parties to not yield results.
Human rights lawyer Andrew Makoni said POSA must be repealed as it does not
belong in any democratic society. “If we are to say Zimbabwe is a democratic
country, it does not need to be regulated in the manner which the Public
Order and Security Act seeks to regulate the people of Zimbabwe,” Makoni
Legislator Moses Mzila-Ndlovu of the MDC wing led by Welshman Ncube, a
negotiator in the government for that party, told VOA reporter Sithandekile
Mhlanga that the question of POSA is supposed to be dealt with by party
negotiators – but may not be until the status of former party leader Arthur
Mutambara has been resolved.
Mutambara lost control of the MDC wing to Ncube but remains a deputy prime
minister and a principal in the unity government with the blessings of
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai. The Ncube-led MDC
says he should no longer attend meetings with the president and prime
minister as he is not the party’s leader.
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