The noise around the proposed Patriotic Act has been on the increase, especially over the past month – possibly, buoyed by the recent visit by the UN (United Nations) Special Rapporteur on the impact of sanctions, Alena Douhan, as well as the 25 October SADC (Southern African Development Community) Zimbabwe Anti-sanctions Day.
This was to be expected, since the rhetoric surrounding these restrictive measures imposed on certain individuals and entities in the country, largely by the US (United States of America) – through its ZIDERA (Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act) – had to be upped, as a convenient cover for the government of Zimbabwe’s own ruinous economic and political policies.
Herein comes the Patriotic Act – which is meant to, amongst other things, criminalize the calling for sanctions against the country – although, I am not sure whether it will also criminalize those who call for restrictive measures on individuals, as is currently the case regarding ZIDERA, and those imposed by the UK (United Kingdom), and EU (European Union).
Will this law clearly differentiate between state, country, ruling party, and individual leaders and persons – a challenge that has dogged the nation for the past forty years, as a result of the ruling elite’s deliberate attempts to distort the undeniable distinction between these entities?
Nonetheless, I honestly do not have any problem with a law that criminalizes the calling of economic sanctions against the country – which will obviously harm ordinary citizens, whose interests should always come first – and, I consider anyone who commits such a despicable and treacherous act, a traitor.
Yet, still, we need to unambiguously define what it means to call for sanctions against the country – as opposed to individuals and entities who would have been responsible for authoring the citizenry’s suffering and impoverishment.
As a matter of fact, those leaders who have ruined the livelihoods of Zimbabweans, and caused untold misery in our lives – through high-level corruption, and the wholesale looting of our nation’s vast resources – are just as guilty as those who call for economic sanctions against the country.
As the country moves ahead with enacting this much talked-about Patriotic Act, it is imperative that issues of high-level corruption – usually committed in cahoots with politically-connected cartels and questionable business associates – need to be included in defining those who are working against the interests of the nation.
No matter the debate over the true nature, extent, and impact of the prevailing targeted sanctions on certain individuals and entities in Zimbabwe, by Western countries – it is not debatable that, corruption (most particularly, committed by the country’s ruling elite, which undoubtedly results in the loss of billions upon billions of dollars, that should have benefited the population) ranks at the top of what can be termed as treasonous.
Therefore, when this law has finally been promulgated, we need to see not only those who call for economic sanctions against Zimbabwe – without any attempts at deliberately confusing country, state, ruling party, and ruling elite – together with those who are destroying our economy through corruption and looting, to be jointly held accountable for treason.
In fact, if this is done without fear or favor, we may just end up witnessing all those already implicated in ZIDERA (and, other restrictions by the UK and EU) also being charged under the new Patriotic Act.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: email@example.com