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MP challenges Posa

Loughty Dube

A BULAWAYO High Court Judge on Monday reserved judgement in an application by opposition MDC member of parliament Thokozani Khuphe challenging sections of the Public Order and S

ecurity Act (Posa).

Khuphe in her court application cited the officer-in-charge of Law and Order in Bulawayo as the first respondent, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri as the second, and Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele as the third.

Khuphe is seeking a declaration that the holding of private meetings does not constitute an offence under Section 4 of Posa.

However, on Monday Bulawayo High Court Judge Nicholas Ndou reserved judgement on the matter.

Members of the police Law and Order section arrested Khuphe two weeks ago while she was having a private meeting with about 40 members of the MDC at her restaurant which was closed that day.

Khuphe together with her supporters were taken to Bulawayo Central police station where they were detained the whole day before being taken to court the following day. They was remanded out of custody on $100 000 bail each.

Job Sibanda of Job Sibanda Associates, the lawyer representing Khuphe, told the Zimbabwe Independent that they were still awating the handing down of the judgement in the matter.

“We are still awaiting judgement but we made it clear that the holding of a private meeting does not constitute a crime under Section 4 of the Public Order and Security Act when we presented our heads of argument to Justice Nicholas Ndou on Monday,” Sibanda said.

In her affidavit to the High Court Khuphe argued that as a politician she had the right to call such a private meeting without notifying the police.

“Whilst I admit having convened a meeting at my business place, this meeting was by all accounts a private meeting. The meeting started off uneventfully at the appointed time.

“It was whilst the meeting was deliberating on item “C” that members of the police force barged into the building, forcing the door open. Pandemonium ensued as some of the people thought they were under attack,” reads Khuphe’s affidavit.

Khuphe charged that the current interpretation of Section 4 of Posa means that Zanu PF should notify the police whenever it holds its weekly politburo meetings.

Sibanda said Khuphe’s meeting was not open to the public and Khuphe was only addressing members from her constituency.

“She did not need to invite the police since the meeting did not compromise public order in any way,” he said.

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