HomeNewsPatriotism is a virtue, ED told

Patriotism is a virtue, ED told



GOVERNMENT has been urged to desist from forcing citizens to give positive narratives about the country by enactment of laws but allow patriotism to develop naturally out of good governance.

The call came at a time President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is pushing for an Act that seeks to punish those it deems as unpatriotic and is also set to amend the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to criminalise such acts.

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe chapter director Tabani Moyo yesterday said government must not “legislate love for one’s country”, but must act in a manner that makes people love their country.

“The problem with the government is that it wants to legislate love,” Moyo said.

“What I can assist the government with is to say, the best way of finding love from its citizens is to deliver as a government and if the citizens are happy, they will go the whole world telling the good story of the country.”

He said there was nothing that could stop citizens from loving their country if they are getting reliable services, a performing economy as well as employment.

Moyo said citizens should not be forced to love their country, citing the August 1, 2018 post-election violence and January 2019 anti-fuel price hike protests, where Mnangagwa deployed soldiers who killed about 23 civilians in both incidents.

Moyo also decried arrests of journalists and opposition activists for voicing concern over high-level corruption.

He said there was nowhere nurses could speak good of the country when they were beaten up for demanding living wages.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Virginia Mabiza recently told NewsDay that the law was meant to stop “self-appointed ambassadors” from denigrating the country.

“We were very clear about it that we are coming up with a law that deals with issues, among other things patriotism, and this is where we will amend our Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act in order to provide for an Act of unpatriotism, for instance those people who self-appoint themselves as ambassadors to engage foreigners about the country and try to bring anything that is against the country,” Mabiza said.

She denied claims that the move was meant to silence dissent.

“That is their opinion, but if you look at other jurisdictions, they have such legal provisions. We are not inventing it, it’s something that is practised the world over and I don’t know where that is coming from,” Mabiza said.

Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) on Monday claimed that government was seeking to “clandestinely” bring in amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act to bring in a clause that deals with criminalising acts perceived as unpatriotic by the government.

“They are now bringing amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act,” Chikwinya said.

“They want to insert a clause that deals with criminalising acts perceived as unpatriotic by the government. They have shied from bringing a standalone bill.

“The root problem is in the citizens voting MPs who do not understand law making, but are good at Scud (beer) buying. We need to change that narrative.”

Last week, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said government was in the process of looking at the criminal court to ensure that travelling to other countries purporting to be representing the foreign interests of Zimbabwe would be dealt with by criminal laws in the country.

“In America, there is a man who was called Logan who went to sell out his country and misrepresent the interests of his country in France and they came up with the so-called Logan Act or the Patriot Act,” Ziyambi said.

The ruling Zanu PF party has accused opposition MDC Alliance leaders, non-governmental organisations and individuals for portraying the country in bad light, thus giving the West justification to tighten sanctions on Zimbabwe.

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