JUST IN: Zimbabweans risk losing citizenship, right to vote for being ‘disloyal’ under new law

Cde Pupurai Togarepi

The Zimbabwean Parliament recently passed a controversial new law known as the Criminal Code amendment bill, nicknamed the Patriot bill. The law criminalizes actions deemed to damage Zimbabwe’s “sovereignty and national interest”.

The new law has drawn criticism from human rights groups and the opposition who say it infringes on basic freedoms and could be abused to target government critics. Some of the penalties in the law include the death penalty, revoking citizenship, and barring convicted persons from voting for at least 5 years.

Opposition politicians argued against the bill in Parliament but were outnumbered by the ruling ZANU-PF who have a majority. Critics argue the vague wording of the law gives authorities too much power and could be used to target political opponents. They also say the death penalty provision violates Zimbabwe’s constitution.

Farmers Workshop Flyer

Supporters of the bill like ZANU-PF’s Pupurai Togarepi argue it is needed to protect Zimbabwe’s image and interests. However, critics contend such vaguely-worded “patriot laws” easily infringe on basic freedoms and political rights that should be protected in a democracy. The bill has now passed parliament and awaits the president’s assent.

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