Government on Friday, 23 December 2022 gazetted the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Bill.
The Bill, which has become known as the Patriotic Bill, seeks to punish Zimbabweans for alleged crimes such as treason and “wilfully damaging the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe”.
Those found guilty will lose citizenship or be barred from voting and holding public office. Part of the Bill reads:
Any citizen or permanent resident of Zimbabwe (hereinafter in this section called “the accused”) who, within or outside Zimbabwe actively partakes… in any meeting whose object the accused knows or has reasonable grounds for believing involves….military or other armed intervention in Zimbabwe…subverting, upsetting, overthrowing or overturning the constitutional government in Zimbabwe; shall be guilty of wilfully damaging the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe and liable to— (i) the same penalties as for treason, in a case referred to in paragraph (a); or (ii) the same penalties as for subverting the constitutional government.
The Bill has been condemned by civil society organisations and opposition political parties saying it is an attempt by the ZANU PF-led government to silence critics. Reads the Bill:
A termination of the citizenship of the convicted person, if the convicted person is a citizen by registration or a dual citizen…prohibition from being registered as a voter or voting at an election for a period of at least five years, but not exceeding 15 years.
Prohibition from filling a public office for a period of at least five years but not exceeding 15 years, and, if he or she holds any such office, the convicting court may declare that that office shall be vacated by the convicted person from the date of his or her conviction, unless the tenure of the public office in question is regulated exclusively by or in terms of the constitution.
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