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Zimbabwe Home Affairs Co-Ministers Unveil New Policy for Demonstrations

Zimbabwe's Ministry of Home Affairs, control of which is shared by the two main parties in the country's power-sharing government, said this week that demonstrations will be allowed so long as the organizers of protests notify the police in advance.

The two Home Affairs co-ministers, Giles Mutsekwa of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Kembo Mohadi of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front of President Robert Mugabe, spelled out the new policy for demonstrations Tuesday in a news conference. Under the previous government the Zimbabwean police frequently dispersed protesters with batons swinging.

National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku, whose organization has in the past had close encounters with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, said the new dispensation is nothing to cheer about because the 2002 Public Order and Security Act or POSA is still in place making it illegal to demonstrate without prior authorization from the police.

But Co-Minister Mutsekwa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the government is moving to repeal repressive laws including the infamous POSA.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...