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Lawyers Hail Repealing of Section 27 Of POSA

Carnival Over POSA Outlaw Ruling

Human rights lawyers and defenders alike have fallen into merriment as the 16 years old legislation, Public Oder and Security Act (POSA), which the state security agents have been employing to frustrate opposition political groupings, has been ruled undemocratic.

Desperate to maintain his grip on power and thwart opposition, former President Robert Mugabe, in 2002, using the Zanu PF dominated Parliament introduced POSA.

Renowned constitutional lawyer and University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Fadzayi Mahere led the jubilations  heaping praise on MDC deputy chairperson and Harare East legislator, Tendai Biti for being central in advocating for the repeal of the draconian legislation.

“An excellent judgment by Makarau CCJ. I’m so happy she’s back on the bench. Looking forward to more good law. This is a win for constitutionalism. Well done @BitiTendai for arguing the case so proficiently.  A good day for justice,” Mahere posted on her blog twitter account yesterday.

Amnesty International Zimbabwe a human rights advocacy organisation applauded the ruling by the  highest court in the land saying the  verdict  is  a very necessary step in democratic building.

In a statement to 263Chat, Amnesty Zimbabwe communications officer, Mlolondozi Ndlovu said POSA had for long been a thorn in the flesh of democracy as it has been always employed to torture people.

“This landmark decision by the Supreme Court is a welcome step which we hope opens a new chapter for human rights in the country.

“For far too long, this repressive piece of legislation has been used to systematically harass, arbitrarily detain and torture people seen as opposition supporters or those trying to expose human rights violations. The fact it is no longer on the statute books is cause for celebration,” he said.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) joined the fray loading appreciation to Biti.

“Biti filed and argued case challenging section 27 of POSA as instructed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.”

Zimbabwe human rights lawyer Douglas Coltart, posting on his blog twitter account said repealing section 27 of POSA which prohibits protests without green light from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is an important step towards a fight against repressive laws.

“The Constitutional Court’s declaration that section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) is unconstitutional is an important step towards ridding our statute books of repressive colonial-inspired legislation. Well done @ZLHRLawyers and @BitiTendai! Aluta continua!”

Meanwhile, Zanu PF Secretary for Legal Affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana told 263Chat in a telephone interview that once a constitutional court has made a ruling there will be nothing to comment except to improve the particular legislation or to struck it off from statutory books.

“I haven’t read the judgment I was out in Bulawayo for a workshop. Once I lay my hands on it then I can give a comment. But once the court has made a ruling that a particular clause is unconstitutional so be it what else do you comment about, either you improve the particular section or strike it out,” he said.

The Constitutional Court led by Justice Rita Makarau on Wednesday repealed the section 27 of POSA on the grounds that it is despotic and prone to abuse by state authorities.

“…there is another feature of section 27 of Posa that I find disturbing. It has no time frame or limitation as to the number of times the regulating authority can invoke the powers granted to him or her under the section,” Makarau said. “…it is my finding that section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter 11:17) is unconstitutional.”

POSA is a 2002 version of the colonial Rhodesian Law and Order Act (LOMA), which was used to suppress human rights. It has been routinely used by the Zimbabwean authorities to prevent peaceful demonstrations.


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