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No Exit Visas But Critics Beware – Zimbabwe Justice Minister

Justice Minister Patrick Chinimasa denied Thursday in an interview with VOA that the government intends to introduce exit visas for citizens wishing to travel abroad.

Mr. Chinimasa said a constitutional amendment recently passed by parliament and signed into law by President Robert Mugabe allows the government to seize passports from individuals deemed to have tarnished the country’s image while abroad.

The justice minister said Harare will not draw up a list of people whose passports are to be seized. But if individuals “continue” to criticize Harare while outside the country, the government will pass enabling legislation providing for the seizure of passports.

Mr. Chinimasa denied the government was targeting the Movement for Democratic Change or other critics of the ZANU-PF government. He said the amendment should be taken as a warning signal that could be followed by more specific action.

But a spokesman for the opposition party said the government’s move to restrict the movement of citizens already represent a gross abuse of human rights.

MDC Legal Secretary David Coltart told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that passage of the travel amendment was an anomaly.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...