CLAIM: President Emmerson Mnangagwa, addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 25, 2019, said his government had repealed the much-criticised Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) as well as the Public Order and Security Act (Posa).
VERDICT: Only partially true. While Posa has been repealed and replaced by the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (Mopa), Aippa has not yet been repealed. The three laws that will eventually replace Aippa are at various stages of development and are yet to be passed.
What did Mnangagwa say?
Addressing his second UN General Assembly since coming to power in November 2017, Mnangagwa sought to play up his administration’s political reforms, a key determinant in Zimbabwe’s bid to normalise ties with Western governments.
“Progress has also been achieved in the area of political and legislative reforms. To date, the alignment of most of our laws to the Constitution is almost complete. The outdated media laws, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the old Public Order and Security Act have been repealed. New laws in relation to these areas have been enacted.”
What is the legislative state of play?
Parliament passed the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act on August 29, 2019 following marathon debates in the lower chamber.
Of the three media laws expected to replace Aippa — the Protection of Personal Information Bill, Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill — only the last two have been tabled in Parliament.
As the first session of the Ninth Parliament draws to a close this week, the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill are still under the Parliamentary Legal Committee’s scrutiny, after their introduction in the National Assembly on August 29, 2019.
The status of the Protection of Personal Information Bill, which was approved by Cabinet on February 19, 2019, is unclear as the Bill is yet to be tabled in Parliament.
Mnangagwa’s claim that both Aippa and Posa have been repealed is inaccurate and, therefore, misleading. Only Posa has been repealed and replaced by the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act. The three laws set to replace Aippa are still some way from being enacted.