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Mnangagwa under fire

by Staff reporter
16 Jul 2023 at 09:32hrs | Views
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chair decries signing of Patriotic Act into law
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) chair, Peter Mutasa has lamented the enactment of the Patriotic Act which he said has now unnecessarily added to offences that attract the death penalty in the country.

Mutasa was speaking to ZimLive after President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week operationalised the much-resented law through assenting to it.

The former ZCTU president said the signing of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Bill 2022, better known as the Patriotic Act, spelt doom for Zimbabwean rights and opposition activists who have routinely been targeted for forms of state repression.

The controversial law criminalises the act of "willfully injuring the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe" and in the most extreme circumstances, one could get a death sentence if convicted for the offence.

Mutasa, also a victim of state brutality, said given the generally biased application of security laws by the Zanu-PF led government, "everyone was in danger" from the Patriotic Act.

He said the law was laced with "broad and vague" provisions which left room of state institutions to unduly restrict human rights.

"This is a sad day for Zimbabweans," said the prominent rights defender.

"It is an official statement that we are under repression.

"It reminds everyone of how we attained independence from colonial rule but failed to attain freedom from tyranny.

"The government has taken away the most fundamental constitutional rights such as freedom of association, assembly and expression.

"The provisions of this law are broad and vague leaving room for the police, prosecutors and judges to apply it anyhow."

By signing the law, Mnangagwa ignored the loud chorus of resentment against a law widely feared could add to the state's kit of sharp-edged weaponry against dissenting voices, which include opponents, rights defenders, journalists and whistle-blowers.

"We are deeply concerned that this law adds to the existing plethora of offences punishable by death in Zimbabwe," Mutasa added.

"Under our circumstances, we know that this law will be used to persecute those who seek justice and accountability from the government.

"Even engaging UN agencies and regional organisations such as SADC will now be risky as you may be deemed to have committed an offence by legitimately engaging these organisations."

Mutasa called on "all Zimbabweans to unite and fight against oppressive laws and practices by the current government".

"We must fight for reinstatement and respect of our liberties.

"Rights will never be given on a silver platter, they are fought for.

"We also call on Zimbabweans to utilise the elections to correct some of these injustices," he said.

Source - ZimLive