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Gonese faces stiff opposition

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MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese faces stiff opposition from Zanu PF MPs in his move to seek leave from the House of Assembly to be allowed to bring in a Bill to amend the contentious Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act on Section 121 by the repeal of Subsection 3, which many view as repressive.

Gonese argued in the House on Wednesday the Act, crafted during colonial times to deny anti-establishment activists bail, was undemocratic and hence ought to be scrapped.

The parts of the law I intend to amend was not introduced by the inclusive government nor Zanu PF, but introduced in 1975 by the colonial regime and it allowed the Attorney-General or his representatives to just stand up and invoke Section 121 Subsection 3, resulting in people languishing in jail for seven days, he said.

In terms of the Constitution, all right-thinking MPs have to do something about this nefarious piece of legislation and look at the merits as to whether this is a good law and whether we want to keep it in our statutes.

Gonese said MDC-T members who had been affected by the law included party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga, Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma, and Zanu PF members like Temba Mliswa and Mutare South MP Fred Kanzama.

Mazowe Central MP Shepherd Mushonga who seconded the motion, said the oppressive section had been used after Ian Smiths Unilateral Declaration of Independence to keep freedom fighters under custody and should be condemned into the archives of the countrys history.

But Zanu PF MPs opposed it with Redcliff MP Isheunesu Muza saying scrapping the law would make the country ungovernable.

In the process of legislating, we should ensure we do not end up de-legislating and come up with laws that will throw this country into an ungovernable state, said Muza.

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