Zimbabwe is in the process of crafting a law that would outlaw citizens’ private engagements with any government and the issuing of statements deemed unpatriotic, according to the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper.
The newspaper quoted the Ministry’s of Justice's Permanent Secretary, Virginia Mabhiza, as saying the Patriot Bill has been drafted and will soon be tabled by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Mabhiza said, “The Bill is premised on the constitutional provision on the foreign policy of our country, which values the promotion and protection of the national interests of Zimbabwe. It is the duty of the State to engage other sovereign nations on issues pertaining to foreign relations, and not self-serving citizens.
“Conduct such as private correspondence with foreign governments or any officer or agent thereof will be prohibited, including false statements influencing foreign governments, or any other such conduct aimed at undermining the country. Private citizens will have to avoid conduct such as traveling to foreign countries as self-appointed ambassadors, meeting foreign officials to undermine the national interest. Conniving with hostile foreign governments and nationals to inflict harm on the country and its citizens will be criminalised.”
Mnangagwa’s government recently claimed that some government opponents are attempting to remove the constitutionally-elected Zanu PF government from power in conjunction with some Western nation.
Critics have dismissed the claims as baseless, saying Mnangagwa’s government is allegedly violating people’s rights.