Breaking News

'POSA bounces back as MOPA'

by Staff reporter
26 April 2019 | 1753 Views
THERE has been a public outcry over the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill (MOPA)'s provisions, with several legal experts and opposition politicians saying the proposed legislation is a regurgitation of the outgoing oppressive Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

The Bill is part of government's plans to align laws with the Constitution in order to satisfy requirements by the international community that Zimbabwe should exercise democracy.

Its new amendments are mainly to do with public gatherings and maintenance of peace and order in the country.

MDC Alliance legislator Innocent Gonese (Mutare Central), who in 2010 moved a private members' Bill to amend POSA, described the new MOPA Bill as a law which will face rebuff by opposition MPs when it comes to Parliament because "it is not progressive at all" and is a mere replica of the draconian POSA.

"There are no changes at all in this new Bill compared to POSA. Actually, the changes are just cosmetic and it is very similar to the previous law (POSA) because we will still have the same problems of criminalisation and abuse of people who fail to notify the police when they engage in demonstrations or gatherings," Gonese said.

"The police still have powers to prohibit meetings and this can be abused and I would describe the Bill as a regurgitation of POSA, except for that section 27 of POSA was struck down by the courts. Obviously from the opposition perspective, we will not be supporting this Bill, but unfortunately, Zanu-PF will use its numbers (majority) to vote for it.

"They are trying to hoodwink the international community that they are aligning laws to the Constitution, but if you look at the MOPA, it does not speak about repealing of POSA. It should have a clause that speaks about repealing POSA."

Attorney-General Prince Machaya said the Bill was part of realigning legislation to the Constitution, adding that it will also repeal POSA, although such a clause is not included in the draft Bill.

"In aligning POSA to the Constitution, we have to take out all its aspects that are inconsistent with the Constitution and add new material. In that respect, it was decided that POSA be renamed to MOPA Bill. The provisions in POSA that have found their way into the MOPA Bill are consistent with the Constitution," he said.

But Gonese said the Constitution does not speak about applying to the police for people to hold public gatherings.

He said section 69 of the Constitution is very explicit concerning the rights of citizens and so the new Bill would also leave room for criminalisation and abuse of people by the police.

Legal and parliamentary think-tank Veritas in their analysis of the Bill said its provisions were slavishly copied from POSA, adding that all undemocratic features had been retained.

"For example, in clause 5 (8) of the Bill the police will still be entitled to ask political parties for lists of members or office-bearers who attend meetings of the parties' committees or other structures. In clause 7 of the Bill, people will not be allowed to hold public gatherings without giving the police written notice: seven days' notice in the case of processions and demonstrations and five days in the case of public meetings. As in section 25 of POSA, the notice will have to specify details such as 'the exact and complete route' of a procession or demonstration and 'the number and types of vehicles, if any', that are to take part in the procession. Anyone who fails to give notice will be guilty of a criminal offence and liable to imprisonment for up to a year," Veritas said in a statement.

Clause 12 of the Bill will entail that if police are not given notice of a gathering, the conveners will be civilly liable for any damage or injury occasioned by any public disorder or breach of the peace occurring at the gathering, Veritas noted.

"This will be so even if the damage or injury was caused by counter-demonstrators or people who were not under the conveners' control. The draft Bill is not new wine in an old bottle: it is the same old wine in the same old bottle with a new label stuck on it," the legal think-tank added.

Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) said MOPA was largely a replica of POSA by another name.

"Most of the provisions are the same and have no effect to the sought-after freedoms. The face powder changes do not address the concerns long raised by citizens and they even ignore some judgments made by the highest courts which were not captured in the new Bill," he said.

"Placing the responsibility of damages on the convenor will see infiltration of demonstrations, as seen before, in order to cause property damage and place the bill on the convenor."

Constitutional law expert James Tsabora said: "The new changes will be that the police no longer have powers to prohibit holding of a rally, and that the President is now the one with the authority to deploy armed forces instead of the Minister of Defence, and that clause 18 of MOPA will also oblige the President to inform Parliament within seven days after deploying the Defence Forces, in accordance with section 214 of the Constitution."

Posa MOPA Bill

Source: newsday


Latest News

JUST IN: 5 CIOs storm Kasukuwere's farm

by Mandla Ndlovu | 25 May 2019 | 4 Views

Mnangagwa gets wild cheers in South Africa

by Mandla Ndlovu | 25 May 2019 | 4 Views

Chamisa's MDC meets to endorse him

by AFP | 25 May 2019 | 1 Views

Technicality cannot decide Nduna's legitimacy

by Staff reporter | 25 May 2019 | 4 Views

Grobbelaar to assist Warriors

by Staff reporter | 25 May 2019 | 2 Views

Cohabiting now legally protected

by Miriam Tose Majome | 25 May 2019 | 4 Views

Mnangagwa in SA for Ramaphosa's inauguration

by Staff reporter | 25 May 2019 | 1 Views

Make corruption suicidal

by Stephen Mpofu | 25 May 2019 | 4 Views

Tough conditions for Zimbabwe fuel retailers

by Ndou Paul | 24 May 2019 | 857 Views

Bulawayo City Council to stop collecting garbage

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 May 2019 | 478 Views

MDC disassociate itself from Chamisa - PRESS STATEMENT24 May 2019We we...

by Hon Webber Chinyadza | 24 May 2019 | 1095 Views

Zanu-PF mourns selfless hero Dr Dabengwa

by Staff reporter | 24 May 2019 | 389 Views

Harare Council to shutdown water for 3 days

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 May 2019 | 336 Views

'Dabengwa's mother was shot and left to rot for two days'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 May 2019 | 3520 Views


DJ Tira jets in for Bulawayo show - SOUTH African wheel spinner DJ Tir...

by Staff reporter | 24 May 2019 | 134 Views

Muso releases anti-Mnangagwa song release - BULAWAYO artiste Njabulo "...

by Staff reporter | 24 May 2019 | 515 Views

Counseling offered for Game of Thrones fans

by Mandla Ndlovu | 22 May 2019 | 1720 Views

Muridzo rubbishes critics

by Simbarashe Sithole | 20 May 2019 | 1110 Views

Nigerian to play Mugabe role in forthcoming movie

by Staff reporter | 18 May 2019 | 2595 Views

Malunga quits sex

by Staff reporter | 15 May 2019 | 7314 Views

I didn't ride on Tuku's fame, says Selmor

by Staff reporter | 14 May 2019 | 2171 Views

Tsholotsho girl shines in SA - DYNAMITE comes in small packages is the...

by Staff reporter | 13 May 2019 | 2475 Views

Mobile Spy Software Maker Mspy Hacked

mspy, the makers of a software-as-a-service product that claims to help more than two million people spy on the mobile devices of their kids and partners, to have been massively hacked. a public relations pitch from mspy to krebsonsecurity in march ... Read More
SecNews 17 May 2015 ago

Apple Watch Teardown Reveals Unique Hardware And Replaceable Parts

The apple watch may not be fine jewelry, but bill detwiler cracks it open and shows you why he thinks it's a fine piece of tech. the apple watch may be beautiful on the outside, but how about on the inside? in this cracking open installment, we go in... Read More
Sergey 11 June 2015 ago