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Government to amend POSA
September 19, 2007

The Government has conceded to the demands made by Zimbabweans to amend the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Since its inception in 2000, POSA has been used by the ruling party to infringe on the fundamental right to freedom of association, and has been selectively applied to prohibit opposition party rallies and civic organization meetings. This has been viewed as an act of blatant disregard to the right to freedom of expression and association within a democratic society.

POSA also creates the offence of insulting the President.

In 2005,the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa out rightly declared that the government had no intention of amending this Act as it was a worthy tool in curbing the activities of those who want to effect regime change.

Early this year, State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa also stated that he wished both POSA and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) will remain in the statute books as they are for the next 1 000 years.

Whilst MISA-Zimbabwe appreciates the latest developments with the hope that this will help enhance freedom of expression and association as stated in section 20 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, MISA-Zimbabwe renews its call for the total repeal of repressive legislation. The cosmetic changes which are normally brought by amendments do nothing in ensuring that Zimbabweans enjoy their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

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