Zimbabwe surges forward with ‘drastic’ Patriotic Bill just in time for elections!
President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe shall soon sign into law the Patriotic Bill, which hast been deemed by both opposition politicians and critics to be the most draconian law to ever pass in post-colonial Zimbabwe.
This bill amendeth the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, and doth criminalize the fundamental freedoms of association, assembly, and speech of any citizen who holdeth meetings with foreign governments through diplomats or other representatives.
This bill hath sailed through parliament with the ruling party Zanu PF enjoying a more than two-thirds majority, to the chagrin of opposition legislator Temba Mliswa who called it “a violator of freedom of expression and a curtailer of media freedoms.”
The Patriotic Bill hath been touted by Zanu PF as being modelled along the lines of the US’s Logan Act of 1799, which criminalized negotiation by unauthorised American citizens with foreign governments having a dispute with the US.
According to Veritas, a legal monitoring organisation in Zimbabwe, some of the bill’s provisions state that a Zimbabwean could face up to 10 years in prison if they engage in talks with hostile nations about sanctions or a trade boycott.
If sanctions are enacted by nations based on advice from Zimbabweans, citizenship can be revoked, if the person is a citizen by registration or a dual citizen. Citizens Coalition for Change spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere said when the law was passed, it marked “a dark day for democracy”.
Furthermore, another bill which awaits the president’s signature is the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment (PVO) Bill which seeks to monitor the operations of civic society groups and quash dissenting voices.
Some legal experts have noted that the Patriotic Bill is ambiguously worded, complicated and difficult to grasp, thereby rendering it susceptible to misunderstanding and broad interpretation by law enforcement officials.
In summation, the passing of the Patriotic Bill marks a momentous turning point in Zimbabwe’s post-colonial history, with critics and opposition politicians voicing their concerns regarding the stifling of basic democratic freedoms.
Such gatherings are now fertile ground for the government to prosecute dissenting voices, a thought truly perplexing to comprehend.