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MDC Alliance to Challenge MOPA in Court

By Wisdom Mumera

MDC Alliance has says it is going to challenge the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA) in court for being an unjust law which has been replicated from the apartheid laws of pre-independence South Africa.

Debating in the Senate, Honourable Lillian Timveos who is also MDC Chief Whip said that they would challenge the Bill even if it passed because it is going against the constitution.

“This Bill is bringing sanctions to Zimbabwe because it is going against the Constitution which ZIDERA says we must follow.

“The only anarchy that is happening in this country is corruption.

“We are going to court even if it passes because it goes against 5 Clauses of the Constitution,” she said.

Contributing to the same debate Senator Douglas Mwonzora concurred with Timveos adding that the law was defective in various ways which should make the Parliamentarians ashamed.

“The convener is the person who writes the letter to the police and his deputy. What this law says is that once you are the convener you are criminally and civilly liable.

“I want to take an example of Zanu PF as a party, they want to plan a demonstration about sanctions. They will seat in their Politburo and in that Politburo they will never make their President, the head of that party, to be a convener.

“They will look for a junior officer, either Secretary-General or PC, they will look for a junior officer to go and communicate the party decision.

“What this bad law is saying is that that junior officer is personally liable.

“Why are we sacrificing the weak, why are we sacrificing the less powerful? What this law is saying is that Zanu PF is innocent and it won’t be visited with criminal liability, it won’t be visited with civil liabilities but the convener will be visited with that,” he said.

Mwonzora added that “we must never go below how Smith (Ian) treated our people. The fact that a few criminals committed despicable acts does not justify this kind of law.”

The MOPA Bill has drawn much ire from a cross-section of civil rights activists and political players who are disputing that it’s an improvement on the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which it is repealing.

Legal watchdog Veritas Zimbabwe said the new law was very much like POSA concurring with Mwonzora who said out of the 23 Sections in MOPA 20 have been copied from POSA.

The accusations have however not been welcomed by the government with Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi stating in Parliament that “government took a strong objection to the characterization of the Bill as undemocratic.”

The headwinds the supposed legal reform process is facing has been taken by many as a sign that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is not sincere about ushering in a new culture of an open democracy following his military assisted ascension to power in 2017.

Instead many are of the view that democratic and civil space has been steadily shrunk by the government which has found itself under acute pressure as the economy has imploded.

 

 

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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