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Parliament does the unpatriotic thing

This shows the Zanu-PF government is self-serving and has little regard for the opinions of the electorate.

Zimbabweans have experienced acute economic hardships in the past few months courtesy of a collapsing currency.

Amidst this, it is clear President Mnangagwa’s government has no intention of running free and fair elections if reports of gerry-mandering and missing names on the voters’ roll are anything to go by.

To add salt to a wound, last week parliament passed the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill also known as the Patriotic Bill which is patently unconstitutional and unjust.

This shows the Zanu-PF government is self-serving and has little regard for the opinions of the electorate.

It prioritises only its interests of remaining in power. It takes advantage of the electorate’s docility which gives the populace the capacity to endure repression and crushing poverty.

The Patriotic Bill is about protecting the Zanu-PF government from criticism — it serves no public interest.

Writing from Birmingham City Jail in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr said: “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

The Patriotic Bill is one such unjust proposed law; it is a bad law that is specially crafted to instil fear into the citizens.

It must be rejected by all who genuinely love Zimbabwe.

There must be an acceptable way of dealing with rogue NGO’s and politicians who exist to promote the West’s regime change agenda.

The proposed law is an assault on the Constitution of Zimbabwe — a product of broad-based public consultation. The Bill is intended to criminalise criticism of government and is an affront to press freedom and freedom of expression.

Patriotism, like “the national interest”, is one of the most abused words by politicians.

Samuel Johnson, in criticising William Pitt’s abuse of the term, famously said: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

Because Zanu-PF has failed to deliver on the people’s aspirations, it seeks to silence any form of criticism by threatening death and imprisonment — it seeks to hide its incompetence and corruption behind an unjust law.

Instead of thinking up new self-serving and repressive laws, Mnangagwa and his minions must focus on delivering on the people’s aspirations.

He must focus on creating an enabling environment that will unleash innovation and prosperity. He must focus on creating an environment which will attract both local and foreign investors to create jobs.

This should be much easier than cowing people into subservience.

You cannot legislate patriotism, just like you can’t force people to love or respect you. Patriotism is the “feeling of love, devotion, and a sense of attachment to one’s country.”

A number of factors contribute to one being patriotic to their country such as culture, language, sports achievements and benefits from economic prosperity.

Mark Twain said: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.”

Mnangagwa’s government has just proved once again that it does not deserve the support of peace-loving and self-respecting citizens. Under the circumstances the only decent thing that Zimbabweans must now do, is approach the Constitutional Court to strike down this offensive law.

The judiciary, if not captured, should find it difficult to justify this law.

  • Ncube is a Zimbabwe entrepreneur and Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) chairman. AMH are the publishers of NewsDay, The Standard, Zimbabwe Independent, Southern Eye and Weekly Digest and operates Heart and Soul Broadcasting Service. This is taken from the In Conversation with Trevor newsletter.


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