Draconian law won’t instil patriotism


NEVER in the wildest dreams of some of us did we ever imagine there would be a time we would turn swords against each other as fellow citizens, especially following a protracted bloody liberation war against colonial subjugation.

It took us 33 years after our 1980 independence from British colonial rule to craft our own Constitution that we thought should by now be guiding us all as we shape our fledgling democracy.

But sadly, nine years after conducting a referendum on the new Constitution, Zimbabwe appears deeply divided over many issues, including how we craft new laws and align them to the country’s supreme law.

While we are supposed to do all this through Parliament that should be diligently conducting this function through the National Assembly and Senate, it is worrying that a number of our laws appear to have been crafted outside Parliament and rubber-stamped into law by the august House.

A case in point is the controversial amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act that have been approved by Cabinet after being championed by mainly the ruling Zanu PF party which would like to call these proposed amendments, the Patriotic Bill.

Albeit that the amendments speak to what is largely already in the Constitution, the adjustments propose, for instance, that anyone found guilty of calling for sanctions or for foreign military intervention in the country could attract the death penalty or life imprisonment.

One wonders why it has come to this if the country is really united for a common purpose and goal. Many are wondering and keep asking: Does patriotism have to be crudely shoved down citizens’ throats; if at all the nation is united?

It would appear Zimbabwe is living under a false unity that is clouding our vision as a nation and it is imperative that we find each other as a people and work for a common goal.

However, introducing draconian laws, to be honest, is the worst possible solution to the crisis of lack of unity among us. To all intents and purposes, ruthless laws — bordering on downright oppression and authoritarianism — will only serve to divide us further.

We find it very disturbing that the ruling party and government appear wont on driving their own agenda and riding roughshod over constitutionalism just to achieve their selfish ends.

The manner in which some of these laws are being railroaded suggests that the nation has no right to debate them, yet this is prescribed in our Constitution.

It appears that we are now being forced to fight shadows — bark up the wrong tree, in fact — especially on the issue of sanctions, for example, which we honestly believe were imposed on some individuals and fundamentally have very little to do with the suffering the southern African nation is experiencing.

We believe the nation is now being coerced to ignore real ills gnawing the very fabric of our hope of survival as a nation.

It boggles the mind why there is such an spirited push for the enactment of brutal laws to force Zimbabweans to view the issue of sanctions differently when there are graver matters such as corruption and looting of national resources that are doing worse damage to the country than the so-called sanctions.

We believe that demanding the death penalty or life imprisonment for corruption and looting of national resources would have received all round support even from those who hate the ruling party with a passion.

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