PLC rules MOPA unconstitutional

BY VENERANDA LANGA

THE Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) yesterday passed an adverse report on the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill (MOPA), which means that the Bill currently has provisions that are ultra vires (violate) the Constitution.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Tsitsi Gezi made the announcement in the National Assembly that MOPA did not pass the constitutionality test when it was scrutinised by the PLC.

“I wish to inform the House that there is an adverse report from the PLC on MOPA,” Gezi said, which now means that the provisions that violate the Constitution in the Bill need to be addressed before the Bill goes to the second reading stage. The House can also reject the adverse report from the PLC and pass the Bill
in its current form.

Legal think-tank Veritas recently said the Bill was unconstitutional in that there were attempts in MOPA to stiffle freedom of association, freedom to demonstrate and freedom of expression.

When the Bill was subjected to public hearings, members of the public rejected it, saying it was even worse than the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which MOPA seeks to replace as part of endeavours by government to align the laws with the Constitution.

Meanwhile, opposition MPs rejected Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi’s attempts to fast track the Marriages Bill, saying that it was an important legislation which affects the lives of Zimbabweans and children and must not be crafted in haste.

Ziyambi had moved for the suspension of Standing Order Number 132 which stipulates that after gazzetting of a Bill it has to spend 14 days before being presented before the House.

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