Source: Flag abusers face prosecution – Sunday News Sep 18, 2016
Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Correspondent
THE Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs will soon descend on individuals abusing the national flag in the manner that “brings it into disrepute” as this will attract a fine of $300 or alternatively a custodial sentence or both.
Addressing political parties and the public during a constitutional advocacy meeting in Gweru last week, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said according to the Flag of Zimbabwe Act, failure to respect the national flag can land one in prison or a fine of $300 or both.
Responding to questions raised by people that the national flag was being wantonly abused by some political movements, Mrs Mabhiza said the ministry was the custodian of the Flag of Zimbabwe Act.
“I wanted to talk about this with Acting President (Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa) that one of the laws that we administer as the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is the Flag of Zimbabwe Act. Our flag is very important and we therefore encourage the public to respect it. Failure to respect the national flag can land one in prison or be forced to pay a fine of $300 or both. There are certain things that people do that are tantamount to abuse and disrespect of the national flag,” she said.
Mrs Mabhiza said her ministry would take it upon itself to see to it that anyone found abusing the flag or disrespecting it would face the full wrath of the law.
“If you are seen disrespecting or abusing the flag, as the custodian of the Flag of Zimbabwe Act as enshrined in the constitution, we will ensure that the law takes its course. Section 6 of the Flag of Zimbabwe Act states that any person who burns, mutilates or otherwise insults the flag or a flag which resembles or is intended to resemble the flag or any reproduction thereof, in circumstances which are calculated or likely to show disrespect for the flag or to bring the flag into disrepute, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level six or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment,” she said.
Mrs Mabhiza said efforts were being made to translate the constitution into sign language.
She, however, said private organisations representing this section of the disabled people had come up with a draft of the constitution in sign language that they submitted to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for approval.
“There are partners and organisations that represent the deaf and dumb. They have said they now have a draft of their visual interpretation of the constitution and they are bringing it to us so that we take it to the Government. If it is approved we will soon have the constitution in sign language,” said Mrs Mabhiza.