Parly adopts a motion to enact the ‘’Patriotic Bill’’

Parly adopts a motion to enact the ‘’Patriotic Bill’’
Parly adopts a motion to enact the ‘’Patriotic Bill’’

Parly adopts a motion to enact the ‘’Patriotic Bill’’

The National Assembly has adopted a motion to enact the Patriotic Bill which seeks to criminalise talking negatively about the country to foreigners.

Although the law was initially introduced as the Patriotic Bill a few years ago, it is now coming tucked inside the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill

The move to adopt the motion emanates from a petition from the Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Trust which wants the government to criminalise calling for sanctions on the country.

Legislators from Zanu PF supported the motion, while Citizens Coalition for Change were against although they did not get the opportunity to air their views.

In moving for the adoption of the motion Chegutu East legislator Webster Shamu said ‘’I rise to express my sincere appreciation to the Honourable Members who have contributed to this very important motion, a motion which came about as a result of a petition by the Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Trust calling on the government to enact legislation criminalising imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe by individuals or organisations.

‘’On that note Madam Speaker Ma’am, may I, therefore, move that this motion be adopted,’’ he said.

The principles of the proposed Bill were approved by Cabinet and drafting instructions are believed to have been forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for drafting.

Parliament wants the Bill to be brought to Parliament by 30 November 2022

Umzingwane legislator Honourable Levi Mayihlome who supported the motion told the National Assembly that freedom of expression should infringe on other people’s rights.

‘’As enunciate by Honourable Shamu in his report, issues of freedom of expression should not infringe on the rights of other members of society. Furthermore, I just want to emphasize that freedom of expression and association should not threaten national security.

‘’I believe that those who call for sanctions against the nation and infringe on the national interests of this country and also threaten the national security of this country, in what way Madam Speaker, by calling for sanctions are weakening the economy.

‘’By weakening the economy, you are causing economic upheavals and promoting civil disobedience that might need or threaten the stability of the government.  In my view, that is a security threat and whichever way one looks at it, calling for sanctions is actually a threat to national security. There has to be legislation to guard against the threat to national security.

‘’Secondly, calling for sanctions infringes on the individual members of society that there are so many people who have been affected by the sanctions in this country and they deserve a right to be compensated for the suffering that they have endured over the years.

‘’Look at those who have left jobs, failed to get medical treatment, by right they have a right to seek legal remedy from the individuals that have called for sanction because they have suffered as a result of those sanctions. There is no country or law in the world that allows individuals to take over the responsibility of discussing international relations as alluded to by Honourable Shamu on behalf of the State, it is only left to Government.

‘’This is by custom, law and practice that all countries in the world leave international relations or negotiations to governments that are elected and who are authorized to do so. For individuals to go on to threaten his own fellow citizens in his own country, is treasonous in our view, and we really applaud the efforts to bring legislation that will criminalize and also allow for individuals to call for mass legal lawsuits against those individuals so that the damage that they have suffered is properly restituted. ‘’I would say in a nutshell, this Bill is long overdue, and we hope that the Attorney General’s Office will bring it to this House without further delay so that this issue of sanctions and the Patriotism Bill is addressed once and for all.  I thank you Madam Speaker,’’ he said.

Parly adopts a motion to enact the ‘’Patriotic Bill’’