CSOs endorse POSA amendment

media_rightsHARARE - Nine civil society organisations on February 22 endorsed a Private Members Bill that seeks to amend the harsh provisions of the.......

draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

The nine civic society organisations, namely the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Zimbabwe), the Womens Trust, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform (ZLP), Veritas and the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), delivered their oral and written submissions at a public hearing convened at Christian Jubilee Centre in Milton Park.

The organisations were unanimous in backing the amendments suggested by Mutare Central MP Hon. Innocent Gonese and criticised POSA for curtailing citizens freedoms.

Although in her submissions ZLHR executive director, Irene Petras, welcomed the proposed amendments to POSA, she reiterated that her organisation would be comfortable with totally repealing the draconian law and other restrictive legislation such as the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The ZCTU, whose leaders have been arrested on countless occasions for contravening POSA, said some provisions of the law had been seriously abused to the extent of making Zimbabwe a police State.

MISA-Zimbabwe noted that although the provisions of POSA largely impacted the constitutionally guaranteed civic liberties such as freedom of association, assembly and movement, restrictions on these rights, however, impinged on the right of the citizens to meet freely and express or exchange opinions, without which other fundamental freedoms could not be enjoyed. MISA-Zimbabwe also noted that the role of adjudicating and deciding who, when and how people should exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights should not rest in the police

Committee chairperson and Glen View South Member of Parliament, Paul Madzore, said his committee would seek to arrange another public hearing to gather citizens contributions to the proposed Bill because of the poor turnout at the first meeting.

The committee held public hearings on February 23 and 24 in Gokwe and Lupane, and will wrap up the hearings in Gwanda and Dombotombo late this week.

Post published in: Politics

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