Zimbabwe working to criminalize meetings with foreign governments and ban 'critisicm of the government'

9th October 2020

Zimbabwe government's latest moves appear to be questionable at best.

At the very least, concern has been raised about new laws that the administration wishes to bring in that would make it a criminal offense for citizens to hold meetings with foreign governments without state approval and to outlaw any 'prominent critisicm of the government.'

ZANU PF officials and Mnangagwa's administration have been handling Zimbabwe's dissent over severe economic and financial problems with a force that has been called out by the leaders of other African nations.

Perhaps in retaliation, Zanu PF plans to introduce what is known as the Patriot Act.

Under the act, Zimbabweans will be criminally charged if they speak to foreign governments without the express permission of the ruling party.

According to the act, 'conduct aimed at undermining the country' will be forbidden as well.

Virginia Mabhiza, Zimbabwe's Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary, explained that the law is based on protecting and promoting national interests.

"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," added Mabhiza.

EWN pointed out that the law could be a reference to when the MDC alliance's Tendai Biti and Human Rights Watch's Dewa Mavhinga appeared before the US Senate's committee on foreign relations after the ousting of Robert Mugabe in 2017.

The MDC Alliance says that the proposed new law would threaten Zimbabwe's already-fragile democratic space.

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