Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Parliament has called on the public to start submitting their views on the recently gazetted Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill, 2019 (H.B.3) that was gazetted last week.
The Bill will replace the Public Order and Security Act.
In a statement yesterday, Assistant Clerk of Parliament Mr Johanne Gandiya said the public consultations were in line with the requirements of Section 141 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“In compliance with this peremptory constitutional provision, and as part of public consultations meant to enhance participatory democracy, Parliament of Zimbabwe is inviting comments on the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill, 2019 (H.B.3, 2019) for consideration by the relevant Committee(s),” he said.
Mr Gandiya said anyone wishing to make contributions make their submissions in writing to Parliament.
“The Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services shall conduct public hearings on the Bill. The dates will be advised in due course,” Mr Gandiya added.
The Bill provides mechanisms to ensure maintenance of peace and order during demonstrations or any public gatherings, among other provisions and will replace POSA which has often been cited as draconian by critics.
The Bill has several progressive provisions that include the removal of a requirement under Section 27 of POSA that required people to move around with their IDs or risk arrest and detention.
Under the provision of the Bill, if someone cannot produce their ID upon request they will be required to do so within seven days at any nearest police station.
In a departure from POSA, whose Section 27 provided for temporary bans of demos, the new Bill has omitted those in line with a previous Constitutional Court ruling which deemed the bans unconstitutional.
Under Clause 8 of the Bill, police have to notify organisers of processions or demonstration within three days of receiving the convener’s notice that the demo or procession can go ahead if the regulatory authorities have no problem with it. Previously under Section 26 of POSA there was no time-frame thereby keeping conveners in suspense.