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Interception of Communications Bill - Index of articles
bill fails test again
Clemence Manyukwe, The Financial Gazette
April 26, 2007
IN a major climb
down, government has conceded that a revised version of its controversial
spy bill, the Interception
of Communication Bill, is just as draconian as the original,
and has pledged additional amendments.
withdrew the bill before Parliament last year after strong objections
from the Parliamentary Legal committee (PLC). It came up with another
consolidated text and sent it back to the PLC, but critics charged
that the Bill remained unconstitutional even after those changes.
The Bill, gazetted
on May 26 last year, provides for the interception of both telecommunications
and postal articles by the Commissioner of Police, the Chief of
Defence Intelligence, the Director-General of the Central Intelligence
Organisation, and the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority or their nominees on the strength of a warrant or detention
order issued by the Minister of Transport and Communications.
In an interview
this week, chairman of the legislative assembly’s legal committee,
Welshman Ncube, said government had undertaken to make fresh amendments
to the consolidated text.
is still before Parliament. The Attorney General (AG) and the Minister
promised to come up with amendments to the text that was before
the legal committee," he said. Transport and Communications
Minister Christopher Mushohwe is sponsoring the Bill.
year’s agreement between the PLC, the AG and Mushohwe to come up
with another version of the Bill, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
moved a motion "that the present text of the Interception of
Communication Bill (H.B 4, 2006), currently in the Order Paper,
be withdrawn and be replaced by a new consolidated text of the Bill
in terms of Standing Order No. 128 and that the new Bill be treated
as having been introduced in terms of Standing Order No. 103 and
referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee."
The House of
Assembly adopted the motion on November 7 last year.
an analysis of the consolidated text by lawyer Chris Mhike, the
local chapter of media rights group, the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said the Bill remained repressive.
said although there were differences between the consolidated text
and the original Bill, the thrust of the proposed legislation remained
of Communications Bill, 2006, even in its revised form, is a retrogressive
and repressive piece of law that has no place in a democratic society.
No amount of revision would justify the impending snooping. ,"
noted the limiting of the Minister’s powers through the transfer
of certain functions to the Administrative Courts, and the provision
of review functions by the AG or the Administrative Court.
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