Draconian new law on horizon – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Source: Draconian new law on horizon – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th May 2021

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Following the recent amendment to the 2013 ‘people’s’ constitution giving the President a new right to choose judges, it appears Zanu PF’s totalitarian plan to outlaw ‘ unpatriotic’ behaviour is next on the legislative agenda.

Conditioned by their brainwashing by China and the Soviet Union, Zanu PF views any criticism as threatening, if not treacherous. It must be stopped.

Zanu PF chief whip, Pupurai Togarepi, said the proposed Patriotic Bill was about national cohesion. ‘After the coming in of opposition parties many agendas came to the fore and it led to a situation where you are at war as a country’. Welcome to reality in a democratic world!

So the solution is to abolish democracy? Constitutional lawyer and opposition politician Lovemore Madhuku says the proposed law is dangerous. ‘No state can define patriotism’. People seen as unpatriotic for allegedly undermining the national interest abroad could face criminal charges if the law is passed. Chief Whip Togarepi denies that the law will stifle criticism, but says people will be expected to express their views in Zimbabwe only (see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57006544).

Togarepi was talking to a Zimbabwe correspondent for the BBC Shingai Nyoka. Will Nyoka be liable to prosecution – or will the Zimbabwe Vigil for reporting it?

For his part, Jonathan Moyo, exiled former Zanu PF minister, says the party sees the Patriotic Bill as a ‘necessary means for protecting itself against all forms of political opposition in the run-up to the 2023 general election’ (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/04/mnangagwas-proposed-patriotic-bill-whither-zimbabwe-41/).

And as for the government’s claim that the move will help improve Zimbabwe’s image, the EU Ambassador Tino Olkkonen said that, on the contrary, it will further strain relations with the international community (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/04/zim-needs-viable-opposition-eu/).

But let us turn to other matters – the corruption at the heart of Zanu PF. This will no doubt be criminalised by the Patriotic Act – not the corruption of course, but the reporting thereof. This is obviously against the national interest represented by President Mnangagwa.

Assuming the President could be embarrassed (a ridiculous idea) he certainly would be at the latest antics of his relative, accused gold smuggler Henrietta Rushwaya. She is awaiting trial charged with trying to smuggle gold worth £280,000 to Dubai through Harare airport last October. But, unlike any opposition activist, she is on indefinite bail while the case is quietly forgotten.

But Rushwaya is back in the news threatening to sue the weekly News Hawks for reporting that the latest gold smuggler arrested was her driver Tashinga Nyasha Masimire who was arrested in Johannesburg for smuggling gold bars worth £555,000 on a flight from Harare. He was given bail of £6,000 (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1141-smuggler-linked-to-president-mnangagwa-had-23-gold-bars-in-a-case).

Other Points:.

  • It is with great sorrow that we report that seven-year-old Jesse, son of Vigil activist Isabell Gwatidzo, has passed away after a long battle with cancer. Jesse has been to the Vigil many times and is known and loved by many of us in the Vigil family. We are praying for his family and grieving with them at this tragic time.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719194253984. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Richard Munyama, Casper Nyamakura, Netsayi Makarichi and Rose Maponga who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

Notices:

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
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