The Zimbabwean Cabinet Tuesday considered and approved the amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9: 23] a development that could be viewed as a plan to suppress the citizenry.
The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters after the Cabinet session that the amendments will criminalise the conduct of isolated citizens or groups who, “for self-gain co-operate or connive with hostile foreign governments to inflict suffering on Zimbabwean citizens and to cause damage to national interests.” She added:
Other actions that will become punishable include planned and timed protests deliberately designed to coincide with major international, continental or regional events or visits. Unsubstantiated claims of torture and abductions will also be criminalised.
It was noted that the current law does not criminalise the unauthorized communication or negotiation by private citizens with foreign governments. Such communication or negotiation has a direct or indirect implication on Zimbabwe’s foreign relations and policy
According to the Constitution, the foreign policy of Zimbabwe must be based on the promotion & protection of the national interests of Zimbabwe; respect for international law; peaceful co-existence with other nations & the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means.
This is happening when MDC Alliance trio, Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova are accused of faking their abduction in May this year.
The move also comes when the government has also drafted the Patriotic Bill which forbids citizens from campaigning against their country.
Some, including the opposition and human rights defenders, have since opposed the bill saying it takes away the constitutionally-given right of expression.