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Minister Fails to Persuade Zimbabwe Cabinet to Ease Public Meeting Restrictions


Constitutional Affairs Minister Matinenga told VOA that he proposed to the Cabinet earlier this week that it should lift impediments to free assembly for discussion of the new constitution during the public outreach phase

Zimbabwean Minister of Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs Eric Matinenga was unable to convince the Cabinet this week to provide for the relaxation of provisions of the Public Order and Security Act to allow freer assembly by non-governmental organizations and others during the outreach phase of the constitutional revision process.

Matinenga told VOA on Friday that he proposed to the Cabinet earlier this week that it should remove impediments to free assembly for discussion of the new constitution, but ministers came to no decision in the matter.

Under POSA, public meetings must be approved by the police beforehand. The Zimbabwe Republic Police have been known to ban meetings by civil society groups even when they comply and seek authorization.

Matinenga told Studio Seven reporter Patience Rusere that he believes leaving the legislation in force during the constitutional outreach phase could get in the way of the national discussion.

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