Draconian media laws smuggled back as patriotism law

EDITORIAL COMMENT

ZIMBABWEANS have suffered a lot at the hands of the Zanu PF-led regime. Honestly, the legislation of a law that curtails freedom of expression is the least they deserve at this juncture.

The proposed legislation, the brainchild of Pupurai Togarepi the Zanu PF chief whip, which Justice permanent secretary Virginia Mabiza was at pains to justify, should not be allowed to see the light of day.

Mabiza reportedly said it is the prerogative of the State to engage other nations on matters to do with international relations, hence the law would criminalise acts such as communicating with foreign governments without approval, making statements which may harm the country and conniving with hostile governments to harm the nation.

At face value, the proposed legislation appears to be a brainwave. But the question that begs an answer is: Is the law necessary in a constitutional democracy where freedom of expression is enshrined in the supreme law of the land?

The answer is an emphatic no. No because communication which exposes human rights violations and other ills highlights the shortcomings of a sitting government for the good of the country and this should be viewed as patriotism of the highest order. Yes loyalty to the State of Zimbabwe which we all owe our allegiance to.

We wish to make it clear to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his acolytes that the nation owes allegiance and should be patriotic to the State, and not his administration, which is the author of the mess the country is mired in as we speak and that exposure of malpractices is an obligation of all patriotic Zimbabweans.

It should not be viewed as bravery as is the case in the country. Bravery yes because you have put yourself at the mercy of the government and are bound to face the wrath of the entire State arsenal. It’s like one has committed treason yet government should be answerable to the electorate.

Curtailment of freedoms is not a new phenomenon in the country as during the tenure of the late former President Robert Mugabe we watched in servile acquiesce a media organisation being closed by then Information minister Jonathan Moyo under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

That Act has been repealed, but Mnangagwa’s administration wants to smuggle it back masked as patriotism law. The citizenry can’t be fooled for the umpteenth time, once bitten twice shy.

Watch the space, media houses won’t be spared by the proposed draconian law. Mnangagwa should be stopped lest we continue gravitating towards a one-party State.

In the 1980s, the nation was patriotic but that has since changed because a sense of belonging and ownership that used to be the hallmark of our nation has been lost as people watch in awe while the elite plunders national resources which are supposed to be shared by all and sundry.

Mnangagwa should not be allowed to silence the voice of the people which he aptly referred to as the voice of God. What has befallen our listening President, we wonder.

Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: news@alphamedia.co.zw