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Cabinet approves principles for Patriotic Bill

Cabinet approves principles for Patriotic Bill

Cabinet has approved the principles for the enacting of the controversial Patriotic Bill that will restrict the work of civic rights groups and journalists in Zimbabwe.

The Bill is coming under the guise of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill.

This was announced to the media during the Cabinet media briefing last night (22 November 2022).

‘’Cabinet considered and approved the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, 2022, which was presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi, as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.

‘’The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, 2022 enhances the provisions of the Criminal Law Code in matters relating to the country’s sovereignty through the criminalization of conduct that undermines Zimbabwe’s sovereignty, dignity, independence, and national interests.

‘’The Bill also provides for a mandatory sentence in rape and murder cases. In addition, it expands the definition of “dangerous drugs” and also amends the elements which form the crime of abuse of public office,’’.

Zanu PF MPs moved two motions to enact Patriotic Bill

The Bill comes after several calls from Zanu PF legislators in the National Assembly.

Currently, the National Assembly passed two motions all moved by Zanu PF legislators urging the government to enact the Patriotic Act.

Previously the government had wanted to pass the law as a stand-alone Act but backed down following extensive criticism from various stakeholders including the British Parliament.

If passed into law the Bill will criminalise such acts as engaging with foreign governments without approval and writing negative things about the country.

It will also ban demonstrations on international days, among other things.

The law will further add to the shrinking civic space in Zimbabwe ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Political commentators believe the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led Zanu PF is afraid of losing power to the Citizens Coalition for Change which is led by Nelson Chamisa and is looking at closing all the space that will help the opposition. Chamisa came close to defeating Mnangagwa in 2018 and Zanu PF is trying to prevent that from repeating.   

Cabinet approves principles for Patriotic Bill

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