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Tsvangirai slams Posa

Staff Writer

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) drastically infringes on the party’s political rights.

ONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Tsvangirai said the repressive legislation was interfering with the MDC’s freedoms of expression, assembly and association. He said public demonstrations and protests were effectively illegal under Posa.

“The majority of meetings are either declared illegal or are otherwise disrupted,” Tsvangirai said. “We wanted to have a meeting in Bikita West and East on (last) Friday and Saturday respectively but we were told late on Friday that the officer handling our application was not available. We had to cancel the meetings at the last minute.”

Writing in his weekly message, Tsvangirai said he had to rush through his meeting at Masasa Business Centre in Buhera South on Wednesday last week after police limited the time for his party to gather.

“Our protests and indications that this was not a rally but a private consultative meeting with district structures went unheeded,” Tsvangirai said.

“Posa and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) are the two main restrictive laws, specially promulgated with the MDC in mind. The idea is to disturb our political activities altogether, leaving millions of Zimbabweans without a political choice.”

Tsvangirai said on Tuesday last week he was supposed to meet party officials in Hwedza but police refused to sanction the meeting, saying Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere, who is MP for the area, needed the same venue for meetings the whole week.

“To change the venue requires a fresh application to the same police station, submitted four working days in advance,” Tsvangirai said. “We have had to postpone the meeting.”

Tsvangirai said in the run-up to the presidential election in 2002 police cancelled nearly 100 MDC applications to hold rallies.

“I only managed to address eight campaign rallies because of these legal restrictions,” Tsvangirai said. “For us to have a free and fair election there is need for a profound rethink on the political restrictions imposed by Posa and Aippa, otherwise we are wasting time.”

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