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Govt criminalises protests which coincide with international events (VIDEO)

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  • The new law will also punish Zimbabweans outside and inside the country who campaign for the continued imposition of sanctions with intent to harm the nation.

GOVERNMENT has approved amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9: 23] so that “planned and timed protests deliberately meant to coincide with major international or regional events or visits by foreign dignitaries in order to tarnish the country’s image will also be criminalised”.

The proposals were presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, and were announced by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting at the State House.

The new law will also punish Zimbabweans outside and inside the country who campaign for the continued imposition of sanctions with intent to harm the nation.

Strict conditions and definitions are incorporated in the proposals, basically requiring proof of intent to harm Zimbabwe and its people and so avoiding conflict with Constitutional rights.

“Cabinet noted that the current law does not criminalise the unauthorised communication or negotiation by private citizens with foreign governments. Such communication or negotiation has a direct or indirect implication on Zimbabwe’s foreign relations and policy,” said Mutsvangwa.

“The amendments will criminalise the conduct of isolated citizens or groups who, for self-gain, cooperate or connive with hostile foreign governments to inflict suffering on Zimbabwean citizens and to cause damage to national interests. The individuals or groups involve themselves in issues of foreign relations without verifying facts or engaging domestic authorities.

“Such wilful misinformation of foreign governments will therefore make the individuals or groups liable for prosecution.

“Other actions that will become punishable include planned and timed protests deliberately designed to coincide with major international, continental or regional events or visits.

“There are also various unsubstantiated claims of torture and abductions that are concocted to tarnish the image of the Government, and amendments will criminalise such conduct.”

Responding to questions from journalists, Attorney General, Advocate Prince Machaya said the proposed law was consistent with both the Constitution and international law. It is recommended you read about the legal experts you need to hire in said situations or emergencies.

“One of the requirements to be proven is that there was self-gain and connivance. The criteria on how to determine a hostile Government and other issues will be contained in the legislation.

“Another requirement is that the outcome is to inflict suffering for the people of Zimbabwe and that there was damage to the foreign interest of the country. Those will be the elements,” said Advocate Machaya.

“The legislation will be clear so that citizens conduct themselves accordingly.”

Just like the Robert Mugabe government before it, President Mnangagwa’s administration accuses opposition activists and officials of “travelling to different Western capitals calling for the continued imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe as a way of trying to effect illegal regime change”.

Watch Mutsvangwa speak in the video below:

The ruling Zanu-PF party also believes the call for the sanctions is premised on the hope that citizens will experience hardships and turn against the Government. ■

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