A LEGAL think-tank Veritas has called on incoming parliamentarians to quickly make changes to the country’s laws to align them with the new Constitution, adding that such changes were supposed to be made before the previous Parliament was dissolved.
NQOBANI NDLOVU, STAFF REPORTER
Veritas said the immediate changes to the existing laws were necessary not only to align them with the new Constitution, but would ensure Zimbabwe became an open, tolerant multi-party democracy.
“There are changes that must be made to our statute law immediately to give effect to the new Constitution,” Veritas wrote.
“These changes, which should have been made before the end of the last Parliament on June 28, are those needed to give effect to the provisions of the new Constitution.
“The provisions that came into force then were those dealing with the Declaration of Rights, citizenship, elections, the conduct of public officers, particularly members of the security services and provincial and local government.”
The new Constitution, a requirement during the term of the just-ended inclusive government, was signed into law in May 22 by President Robert Mugabe to replace the Lancaster House Charter.
Veritas said changes should be made to the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) as the law restricts freedom of association in its current form.
“Section 25 of the Posa Act, which requires notice of public gatherings to be given to the police, should be amended to make it clear that the police have no power to refuse permission for peaceful gatherings and that failure to give notice will not render a gathering unlawful or make the convenor liable to criminal prosecution,” the body added.
Posa has been used several times to deny independent human rights groups and political parties from holding public meetings, peaceful demonstrations or rallies.
On the Declaration of Rights, Veritas said changes should be quickly amended on the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act that steps on the rights of prisoners.
“The provisions allowing arrested persons to be detained for longer than 48 hours before being brought to court will have
to be repealed,” the body continued. “Section 121, which allows a person who has been granted bail to be kept in detention for up to seven days if the Attorney-General wishes to appeal, must be amended.”