The Constitutional Court has ruled that Section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) is unconstitutional. Under this section, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had the power to ban demonstrations as organisers needed to get clearance from the police. The full bench of the Constitutional Court which was led by Justice Rita Makarau found that Section 27 is not fair, reasonable or necessary. In handing down the unanimous ruling, Justice Makarau said,
In addition to failing to pass the test on fairness, necessity and reasonableness, there is another feature of section 27 of Posa that I find disturbing. It has no time frame or limitation as to the number of times the regulating authority can invoke the powers granted to him or her under the section. Thus, a despotic regulating authority could lawfully invoke these powers without end. This could be achieved by publishing notices prohibiting demonstrations back-to-back as long as each time the period of the ban is for one month or less…On the basis of the foregoing, it is my finding that section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter 11:17) is unconstitutional.
However, Justice Makarau suspended the declaration for the next six months to allow the authorities to amend the law so that it is in line with the Constitution. Said Makarau,
The declaration of constitutional invalidity of Section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act is suspended for six months from the date of this judgement.
The Public Order and Security Act (POSA) is a piece of legislation passed in Zimbabwe in 2002 by a parliament which Zanu-PF dominated. The act was amended in 2007. It was widely alleged that the Act was the brainchild of Jonathan Moyo who was the... Read More About Public Order and Security Act
Rita Makarau is a Zimbabwean judge and the former Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Makarau is the Justice of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe and former Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC). She is the first female Judge President of Zimbabwe. Makarau is... Read More About Rita Makarau
The Constitutional Court is the final court of appeals for all matters relating to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and its decisions are binding on all other courts in Zimbabwe. It has the power to make the final decision on the constitutionality of an act of... Read More About Constitutional Court