HomeLocal NewsPosa debate to continue — Gonese

Posa debate to continue — Gonese

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The Public Order and Security Amendment Bill which seeks to amend the draconian Public Order and Security Act (Posa) will continue to be debated in the august House despite the fact that President Robert Mugabe did not include it on the list of Bills up for consideration during the lifespan of the third session of the seventh parliament.
President Mugabe laid before Parliament 24 Bills for consideration but the controversial POSA, under which public demonstrations have been thwarted, was not among them.
The Bill, which seeks to sweeten Posa provisions and give it a human face, was introduced during the second session of the seventh parliament by MDC-T Chief Whip, Innocent Gonese.
It was at its second reading stage during the last session when it lapsed by reason of prorogation when President Mugabe announced the new legislative agenda on Tuesday.
Gonese had to seek special permission from the Speaker of Parliament and members of the House of Assembly to bring the Bill back on the House of Assembly order paper, which the legislators agreed.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the Public Order and Security Bill, which was superseded by the Second Session be restored on the Order Paper at the stage it was being debated and could not be concluded during the last parliament as members were engaged in the constitutional process,” Gonese said.
While reintroducing the motion Gonese said he had already liaised with his counterparts, the chief whips of MDC-M, Edward Mkhosi, and Zanu PF chief whip, Joram Gumbo.
“I have sought permission from other honorable members in terms of standing order number 131 (1),” Gonese said.
The parliamentary standing order states: “any public Bill which lapses by reason of prorogation before it has been agreed to by the House of Assembly and the Senate may be proceeded with in the next ensuing session.”
Speaking to NewDay soon after making his proposal, Gonese refused to say why the executive had not included the amendments to Posa as part of the Bills on the new legislative agenda.
Fears have been raised that President Mugabe might try to drown Bills that have been brought up in cabinet by the MDC-T, especially oppressive laws like Posa.
Gonese made history by becoming the first private member to propose amendments to a Bill, because most Bills that come to parliament for consideration are proposed by the executive.
“I cannot second guess why the executive did not propose to bring it back. What I can say is that it is still on the order paper and I am happy about that,” Gonese said.
“Obviously, it is a Bill which will improve the Public Order and Security Act and enable the people of Zimbabwe to express their views freely,” Gonese said.
During the last session of parliament, the parliamentary portfolio committee on defence and home affairs, chaired by Glenview South legislator Paul Madzore asked different stakeholders to appear before it to give their views on the Bill.
The committee went round the country seeking public opinion on the repressive legislation.
Although the committee produced a report indicating there were some aspects of Posa that were deemed positive, these were overshadowed by the negative provisions.

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