Mnangagwa Signs Patriotic Bill Into Law
15 July 2023
Spread the love

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has signed into law the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Bill 2022, commonly referred to as the “Patriotic Bill”, which criminalizes “wilfully injuring the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe”.

The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda announced that Mnangagwa has assented to the Patriotic Bill through General Notice 1189 of 2023 published in the Government Gazetted on Friday, 14 July 2023. Reads the notice:

THE following laws, which were assented to by His Excellency the President, are published in terms of section 131(6)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe-

  1. Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Act, 2023. (No.10 of 2023).
  2. Labour Amendment Act, 2023 (No 11 of 2023).
    The “Patriotic Bill” amended the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23], which has four clauses, three of which have been described as progressive excluding Clause 2.
    Clause 3 amended Section 65 of the Principal Act to make 15 years the minimum required punishment for rape, in response to the rise in crimes of sexual violence and rape.
    Clause 4 amended Section 155 of the main Act’s definition of dangerous drugs to include prepared opium, prepared cannabis resin, and a drug schedule.
    Clause 5 amended Section 174 of the main Act as the existing definition of criminal abuse of office, as provided for in Section 174 (i), is fairly broad, allowing public officials to be charged for honest mistakes made while doing their duties.
    The controversial amendments to Clause 2 (3) read as follows:
    Any citizen or permanent resident of Zimbabwe who, within or outside Zimbabwe, intentionally partakes in any meeting, whose object or one of whose objects the accused knows, or has reasonable grounds for believing involves the consideration of or the planning for the implementation or enlargement of sanctions or a trade boycott against Zimbabwe (whether those sanctions or that boycott is untargeted or targets any individual or official, or class of individuals or officials), but whose effects indiscriminately affect the people of Zimbabwe as a whole, or any substantial section thereof shall be guilty of wilfully damaging the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe and liable to…
    The clause provides penalties that include a fine not exceeding level twelve or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or both.