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Call for imposition of sanctions by Zimbabwean citizens unconstitutional

29 May 2019 at 07:55hrs | Views
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing extreme hardships as a result of sanctions which were imposed at the instigation of some of Zimbabwean citizens. Zimbabwe Democratic Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) for example, was crafted with the help of Tendai Biti.

The result of ZIDERA is common knowledge to the whole world and all Zimbabweans. Mr Biti travelled to the USA where he engaged some members of the US Senate to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Mr Biti participated in the crafting of the ZIDERA sanctions law against Zimbabwe. He had no authority from the State of Zimbabwe to act in the manner he did. The State of Zimbabwe is under siege from these types of people who claim to be its citizens and want to enjoy all the rights to their persons and property, while on the other hand exercising acts of enmity against the country.

Section 35 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013 provides that, "All Zimbabwean citizens are equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship and are equally subject to the duties and obligations of citizenship."

Section 35 (3) (a) provides that all Zimbabwean citizens are entitled to, among others, the protection of the State wherever they may be. Section 35 (4) (a) and (b) make it a duty of all Zimbabweans to be loyal to Zimbabwe, and to observe the Constitution and to respect its ideals and institutions.

No one who owes loyalty to his/her State would be expected to propose laws or measures which are injurious to the interests of his or her State, and still wants to claim protection by the laws of that State.

Further, every citizen of Zimbabwe who refuses to respect the institution of the President of the State acts unconstitutionally and commits an offence. No citizen of Zimbabwe, who advocates for sanctions or any other restrictive measures which have a negative impact against Zimbabwe, has any legal right to be protected by the laws of Zimbabwe.

Biti, Nelson Chamisa, Chief Ndiweni, and others in the MDC-Alliance (the list is long),  have all, by virtue of these provisions of the Constitution, violated the duties attached to them as citizens of Zimbabwe from the day they advocated for sanctions against Zimbabwe, or refused to respect the ideals and institutions (the President) of the State.

President Mnangagwa was duly elected in terms of a lawfully constituted and conducted harmonised election, and confirmed the duly elected candidate by the Constitutional Court. However, from July 2018 when the elections were concluded to date, Chamisa is still arguing that he does not recognise President Mnangagwa's Presidency, and continues to argue that President  Mnangagwa rigged the election. In terms of the cited sections of the Constitution, Chamisa has committed an offence of violating the Constitution.

He should not be enjoying the protection of the law of a country for which Mnangagwa is the President. Under such circumstances, the law must be used to prevent such violations to the Constitution.

These people must be arrested and prosecuted in our courts because they owe a duty to be loyal to the State and to respect its ideals and institutions. To this end, there is need to make a law that captures such acts as offences. This writer, therefore, proposes that the State amends the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 4:01) by the insertion of Section 20 which provides as follows: "20.


(1) It shall be an offence for a citizen of Zimbabwe without due authority, to travel to a foreign country and negotiate with any foreign government or its agent an intention to effect measures which negatively affect the economic, political, socio or cultural interests of Zimbabwe.

(2) It shall be an offence for a citizen of Zimbabwe, to call on any foreign government or its agent while in the territory of Zimbabwe, to effect economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.

(3) Any citizen of Zimbabwe who refuses or fails to respect the ideals and institutions of Zimbabwe commits an offence. For violating each of the subsections (1), (2), and (3), a citizen shall be liable upon conviction, to a term of imprisonment for a minimum of five years without the option of a fine".

There are a lot of citizens who are violating the Constitution as stated with impunity and getting away with it. It is not possible for a citizen to claim to be loyal to his country, yet he advocates for sanctions or any punitive measures to be imposed on his/her country's socio, political, cultural and economic interests, or refuse to respect his State institutions?
Charles Mutema is a Harare-based lawyer    

Source - the herald
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