What does patriotism mean to Zim & Zimbabweans?

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

I READ somewhere that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is about to sign into law a Bill that will heavily and undeservedly, of course, chastise any Zimbabwean who will tarnish the image of the nation.

The Bill stipulates “any citizen or permanent resident of Zimbabwe (hereinafter in this section called “the accused”) who, within or outside Zimbabwe actively partakes ... in any meeting whose object the accused knows or has reasonable grounds for believing involves ... military or other armed intervention in Zimbabwe ... subverting, upsetting, overthrowing or overturning the constitutional government in Zimbabwe; shall be guilty of wilfully damaging the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe and liable to:- (i) the same penalties as for treason, in a case referred to in paragraph (a); or (ii) the same penalties as for subverting constitutional government.”

If anything, this law aims at nothing but to descend heavily on any person ideated as an enemy of the State. By looking at how the law is worded, even if your enemy lies to the authority that you’re meeting or intending to topple the government, you’ll be arrested.

The Bill is so ambigious since much of the elements are, but mere rumours. For example, what does “upsetting or overturning the national Constitution” mean while the two terms mean the same? What does it mean if any person — unsatisfied with it —has legal power to demand that it be amended or changed?  Isn’t this upsetting the same? Why using vague terms in writing a Bill if there isn’t something fishy?

Before rummaging into the matter, let’s define what patriotism means.

The concept of patriotism or patria (Greek) or one’s native country or homeland, or male power over family evolved over 2 000 years ago in Europe. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2020) defines it as “love of one’s country, identification with it, and special concern for its well-being and that of compatriots.”

Does Mnangagwa practically love his country? How, when he toppled an elected government led by his predecessor the late Robert Mugabe in November 2017? How, when he has never had any concern for the well-being of his compatriots in the opposition?

How, when corruption and selfishness have always thrived under his nose? How, when Mnangagwa is seconding the Bill that aims to bully a big section of Zimbabweans to crouch before him?

Some journalists have labelled this law draconic. Nay. It’s more than that. It’s purely archaic, colonial, and obnoxious. If anything, this is nothing but puerile excuse, if not a sure sign that desperados have run out of gas. Government lawyers who crafted such a deplorable Bill — that aims to enact bad laws —seem to not know the history of Zimbabwe. How did Mnangagwa come into power and where did he come from? Didn’t he secretly meet with his conspirators in South Africa after he had fled the country and toppled Mugabe? He did exactly the same act he is now diabolising. Swahili sage is that the simian doesn’t see its nates. Therefore, it laughs at those of other simians. In Latin, you can call this holier than thou idiocy. Mnangagwa must say mea culpa, mea culpa, as he guiltily lashes his chest, rescind the Bill and apologise to Zimbabweans.

At law, what Mnangagwa did is not only traitorous by all laws and standards since two elements of criminal liabilities, namely actus reus (act or omission) and mens rea (malice aforethought or intention to commit an offence) are openly demonstrably present. How do you tie Mnangagwa to his Bill and find him criminally liable? He conspired with others, privately met them in South Africa, and keeled an elected government. Was that a patriotic act? Mnangagwa’s treasonable acts would have sent Zimbabwe tumbling down due to the mayhem it would have triggered.

Let me look at this law that’s specifically aimed at bullying and intimidating Zimbabweans from holding the regime accountable. Are Zimbabwean rulers patriotic in the first place? How, if tonnes of ignominies are the only things that define them? Let’s examine them clinically. Al Jazeera (Dec. 12, 2022) reports thus: “The US Treasury Department accused Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr of ties to sanctioned businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei.”

All Zimbabweans know what this scandal entails. True patriots never rape juveniles or the economies of their country. Like father like son, the sage has it. The proposed law is not only bad but also evil.

My words and works will live longer, spread wider, speak louder, and be more valued than their creator who happens to be me, a mere mortal man. They’ll speak when I won’t have power and time to speak. They’ll speak even in my absence.

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