The National Assembly has adopted a motion to enact the Patriotic Bill which seeks to make it a criminal offence for citizens to say bad things about the country to foreigners.
The proposed law was initially introduced as the Patriotic Bill a few years ago but it is now part of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill.
ZANU PF MPs supported the motion, while CCC MPs are understood to be against the Bill although they did not get the opportunity to express their views.
Chegutu East legislator Webster Shamu (ZANU PF) moved the motion for adoption. He 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 the 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.
Umzingwane legislator Levi Mayihlome (ZANU PF) supported the motion saying calling for sanctions is a threat to national security. Said Mayihlome:
As enunciated 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.
The principles of the proposed Bill were approved by Cabinet and the Attorney General’s Office has been given drafting instructions.
Parliament wants the Bill to be brought to the House by 30 November 2022.