Move to repeal Criminal Procedure Act

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MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese yesterday gave notice in the House of Assembly to move a private members Bill which seeks to repeal the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, sub-section three of Section 121.

The State has of late been accused of using the controversial legislation to quash suspects bail applications and keep them behind bars for seven days. According to Gonese, sub-section three of Section 121 of the Act needs urgent amendments because it allowed the Attorney-General or his representatives to merely give a notice of intention to appeal and by that pronouncement the release of a person granted bail was suspended pending the appeal.

Gonese later told NewsDay the law had often been abused and used on political opponents, members of civic society or those perceived to oppose Zanu PF. He said the oppressive law needed an amendment as people were being deprived of their liberty unnecessarily.

In the majority of cases, no such appeal has even been noted and where it is noted, it has been dismissed for lack of merit, said Gonese.

It is used for political cases, but it has also been used for non political cases and in the process abused.

Several MDC-T officials have fallen victim to the Act, among them Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma, Gokwe Kabuyuni MP Costin Muguti and MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.

Three Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe officials and businessman David Govere also endured lengthy remand in custody after the State invoked Section 121 of the Act.