Patriotic or Party-riotic Bill?
23 June 2023
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By Divine Mafa | The following is a critical analysis, line by line, of the proposed Patriots Bill of Zimbabwe:

Section 1: This section defines the purpose of the bill, which is to “protect the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe.”

This is a broad and vague definition that could be interpreted in many ways. It is unclear what the bill’s authors mean by “sovereignty” and “national interest.” This could lead to the bill being used to stifle dissent and criticism of the government.

Section 2: This section lists the activities that would be criminalized under the bill, including “criticizing the government or its officials,” “promoting economic sanctions against Zimbabwe,” and “engaging in activities that are deemed to be ‘subversive’ or ‘detrimental to the interests of Zimbabwe.'”

This section is particularly concerning because it criminalizes a wide range of activities that are essential to a free and democratic society. Criticizing the government or its officials is a fundamental right that is protected by international law. Promoting economic sanctions against Zimbabwe is also a legitimate form of political expression. And engaging in activities that are deemed to be “subversive” or “detrimental to the interests of Zimbabwe” is a subjective standard that could be used to target anyone who disagrees with the government.

Section 3: This section sets out the penalties for violating the bill, which include imprisonment for up to 20 years.

The penalties for violating the bill are extremely harsh. Imprisonment for up to 20 years is a serious punishment that could be used to silence dissent and discourage people from exercising their fundamental rights.

Section 4: This section sets out the procedures for enforcing the bill, which would be overseen by the government’s National Prosecuting Authority.

The fact that the bill would be enforced by the government’s National Prosecuting Authority is a cause for concern. This agency is controlled by the government, and it is possible that it would be used to target political opponents and critics of the government.

Overall, the proposed Patriots Bill of Zimbabwe is a dangerous and repressive piece of legislation that would stifle freedom of expression and political dissent. The bill should not be signed into law.

Wamwari Devine Chaminuka
Masongenyoka Devine Ndabezitha
Mafa Sibanda aka Dididi- Dididi. Lion O Judah. Hende Nesando