Chitungwiza residents on Friday rejected the proposed Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill (MOPO) saying the bill was draconian and unconstitutional.
Making submissions before the committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Thematic Committee on Security Services and Peace and Security, Charles Defa who hails from Chitungwiza said, ” the introduction of the Bill has nothing to do with the protection of people’s rights, it has got everything to suppress people’s rights, it is about shredding the freedom charter. it is about shredding the constitution. From where I’m coming from we should not have something like POSA “.
He added that “If you want to understand the evilness of Law and Order Maintenance Act and the evilness of MOPO you should go and ask President Emmerson Mnangagwa, He was only saved because he was a juvenile. The Bill simply entails that we are now living in a military and police state,”.
Another Chitungwiza resident described the bill as unconstitutional.
“Having Bills that preserve peace in the country is okay but laws must not be created to take away rights from the people. We voted for a constitution in 2013 and that constitution must guide us. The problem now is that the country is divided along political lines and such bills as MOPO are then used to target certain people in society,” said Richard Chamutsa.
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Commenting on stop and search Clause in the Bill, another resident said the provision gives more powers to the police officers.
Speaking on the sidelines of the hearings, Senator Douglas Mwonzora said people want their freedom to demonstrate without being coerced.
“Residents also raised their objection to the military being deployed to deal with demonstrations. Their argument is that police can deal with demonstrations,” said Mwonzora.
The MOPO Bill if passed into law is set to replace POSA, which was enacted in 2000.
POSA prohibited unsanctioned public gatherings, loitering during late hours among other restrictions.