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on the arrest of Dr Lovemore Madhuku and other NCA activists by the police
following a peaceful demonstration in Harare
Trustees of Legal
Resources Foundation (LRF)
October 23, 2003
The Trustees of the
Legal Resources Foundation are dismayed at the arrest on Wednesday 22
October 2003 of Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA Chairperson, and about 400
other NCA activists, for holding a peaceful public demonstration in Harare
without Police approval under the notorious Public Order & Security
Act (POSA). The LRF is also disturbed at the reported barring by the Police
of lawyers seeking access to the arrested persons, and notes that this
effectively amounts to denying the arrested persons the right to legal
representation. The arrest comes a week after the recent assault by the
Police of Beatrice Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer and activist.
The LRF wishes to
restate what it has always stated quite categorically, that POSA is a
serious assault on universally accepted and respected rights and freedoms
of citizens in any society. Together with other equally repressive laws
such as Access to Information & Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),
this law virtually takes away the protection and enjoyment of constitutionally-enshrined
freedoms of movement, assembly, association and expression.
The insistence by
the Government of Zimbabwe in enacting and keeping such laws in our statute
books and enforcing them has taken Zimbabweans back to the dark days of
the colonial era where repression and a Police state became the order
of the day. It is sad to note that after having lived through the Law
& Order Maintenance Act and the State of Emergency throughout the
Smith regime, Zimbabweans have had to endure the same rule for some years
after independence, and eventually have seen the repressive laws being
substituted with equally repressive statutes by the post-independence
Government. There has therefore simply been no respite from repressive
laws for Zimbabweans, who continue to suffer the very same denials of
universal rights and freedoms which they suffered under the Smith regime.
Any law which prevents
citizens from peacefully exercising their rights and freedoms is immoral
and fails to meet the basic standards of a good law, and by the same token
fails to earn the respect and compliance of the citizens.
Visit the LRF fact sheet
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