MDC former Secretary General, Douglas Mwonzora has claimed that there is no difference between the recently introduced Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill to Parliament (MOPA) and the reviled Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which it seeks to replace. He said:
What is striking is that out of the 23 in POSA the Bill retains a whopping 20 Clauses as they are word for word. It makes minor amendments to 2 Clauses and repeals only a single provision of POSA. Further key provisions of this Bill are duplicated word for word from the Regulation of Public Gatherings Act No. 205 of 1993 of South Africa enacted before that country attained its independence. This Bill is therefore simply POSA by another name and appears not to have been made with any democratic design in mind.
POSA has been described as a draconian law that limited human rights and freedoms such as the right to association and speech. Under POSA, the police had powers to temporarily ban demonstrations. Under the MOPA, that power is now vested in the president. Mwonzora said that there is nothing to celebrate since the provision had been successfully challenged in the Constitutional Court anyway.
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