The Public Order and Security Act (POSA) Amendment Bill was gazetted on December 11, according to a government gazette published last Friday.

The law change was brought as a Private Members Bill by Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese in October after parliament backed his motion to amend POSA which has been criticised for giving police sweeping powers to ban political rallies.

The Bill will now be introduced in parliament for debate, and if passed will become law.

The amended law will take away police powers to ban public meetings and place the decision in the hands of a magistrate.

“All Zimbabweans, immaterial of party, political affiliation or persuasion have a constitutional right to express themselves by engaging in peaceful assembly and association,” one clause in the Bill says.

While moving the Amendment’s motion in October, Gonese said: “The reason why I am bringing this motion is because of the abuse of the Public Order and Security Act by the police.

“The problem we have in Zimbabwe is that the police have applied, misinterpreted and misplaced provisions of the law … the intention of the Bill is to limit the powers of the police in that regard.”

The Bill is not likely to face opposition in parliament as the three ruling coalition parties agreed to reform security laws.