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Zimbabwe Senate Passes Dreaded ‘Patriotic Bill’

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VOA


The controversial Criminal Law Codification (Reform) Amendment Bill, dubbed the Patriotic Bill, which criminalizes the willful damaging of the sovereignty and national integrity of Zimbabwe, sailed through the Senate today.

The Bill will now be sent to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to sign it into law.

The Bill proposes severe penalties for a Zimbabwean, who convenes a meeting with a foreigner or foreign agent, plots to overthrow a constitutionally-elected government and calls for sanctions or a trade boycott of Zimbabwean goods and or services.

Penalties range from losing citizenship to the death penalty. Critics say the law is designed to curtail freedom of information, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.

Opposition members of the Senate strongly protested before the passing of the Bill, saying it violated people’s rights.

Morgan Komichi of the MDC-T said his party opposed the passing of the Bill but was overrun by the majority Zanu PF party.

Zanu PF senators – Angeline Tongogara and Alice Chimbudzi – supported the Bill like their party colleagues, who claim that Zimbabwe is under siege from the West.

Robert Chapman, leader of the opposition Democractic Union Zimbabwe, also condemned the passing of the Bill. But Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi claimed that the law will protect Zimbabwe from its enemies.

VOA Correspondent Godwin Mangudya contributed to this article.