Zanu PF Chief Whip in the National Assembly Pupurai Togarepi has urged Parliament to support the enactment of the proposed Patriotic Bill, adding that it will go a long way in protecting the image of the country.
Cabinet proposed the Bill when it approved the amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act to criminalise the act of cooperating with foreign governments to cause suffering or damage last year in October.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Togarepi said Zimbabwe was the only country that does not have the laws that safeguard the image of the country.
He said no one wants to do business with Zimbabwe at the moment because certain people soiled its image.
“Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe is the only nation that does not have laws that encourage its citizenry to protect the brand Zimbabwe. Many countries throughout the world have laws that protect the image of their countries. Once that image is butchered or soiled, no one wants to do business with us and no one wants to work with us.
“It is critical that as a people, as a country and as lawmakers, we come up with laws that protect the Zimbabwean brand. You would know Madam Speaker and Honourable Members here, that long back, the United States of America had the Logan Act as stated by the mover of the motion.
“In 2001, they passed a Patriotic Act after the September 11, 2001 terror attack. They passed that law because some of their citizens, in their view, could have been involved in that incident that visited the people of America. So, they came up with the Logan Act,” he said.
Togarepi added that Zimbabwe needs to now weigh the behaviours of its citizens to check if in the interest of the country or not.
“As the people of Zimbabwe, we should also look at some of the behaviours and detrimental words used by some of our citizens and say what have they done to advance the interest of the people of Zimbabwe? Some among us have said things that have cost us in terms of international relations and some have said statements that have denied Zimbabwe access to financial support, good relations with other nations.
“To make matters worse, people have died because of those who wrote letters to international donors who could support us even during COVID to say to do not support Zimbabwe. We have a Parliament here where we can debate about corruption or anything we are not happy with but we just want to rush to international communities. We cannot deny the people of Zimbabwe access to health just because we do not agree politically,” he said.
The Zanu PF Chief Whip also blamed civic society organisations and the media for playing a part in tarnishing Zimbabwe.
He said they have been peddling negative things about the country and that Zimbabwe has suffered because of that.
“Madam Speaker, when we have such citizens who deliberately go out there to vilify their country, what should we do? Some civic societies and some in the media have gone out there to say negative things deliberately, for the purpose of just opposing.
“The nation has been a victim of negative publicity through the publication of fake news. Zimbabwe has suffered financially, materially and because of that, this has also affected our international relations.
“Madam Speaker, you know that the imposition of sanctions by the United States, European Union, Canada, Australia et cetera was at the behest of our people. The imposition of sanctions by these countries was a result of lobbying by certain individuals.
“Some deliberately went to these countries to ask for the people of Zimbabwe to be killed by way of denying us access to health, in other words, you are saying we should die. These are citizens of Zimbabwe, what are we doing as a country to ensure that such people pay for exposing the people of Zimbabwe, we need to do something and it should be done now. I propose in my discussion that we have a ‘patriotic Act’.
“I strongly believe that that Act will unite and strengthen Zimbabwe by giving it appropriate tools that will ensure every citizen regardless of the level you adhere to one virtue of loving your country, doing everything to promote the interest of my people. If I want to be respected and to be an international icon of some sort, I should not destroy my country at the expense of the people of Zimbabwe.
“Madam Speaker, I think this proposed Act will deter and punish those people who are going to connive with foreign governments to destabilise Zimbabwe. It is important that those people who connive with those who are against us should pay.
“There are individuals in that category or organisations, we also have civic organisations that in their activities deviate from their core business and start advancing activities that destabilise the people of Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe cannot be a place where people would want to test their nuclear bombs, doing things that will destroy the livelihood of the people of Zimbabwe. When these people come to this country, they tell us that they are social welfare organisations yet they have political agendas. We need the patriotic Act to rein these people before they destroy the image of this beautiful country,” he said.
Patriotic Bill will protect Zim image: Togarepi