Zimbabweans have called upon the government to urgently promulgate and enact the Patriotic Bill citing immense attacks on the country’s image and reputation through unpatriotic activities and communication intended to denigrate its integrity; a move likely to cause despondency and undermine the peace of the country.
This follows unauthentic and unjustified utterances by Hopewell Chin’ono at the recently held Geneva Summit for Human Rights in Switzerland where he disparaged Zimbabwe and President Mnangagwa’s administration; negatively painting a picture which has an adverse and crippling impact on the country’s economic prospects especially on investment, and the welfare of the vulnerable such as youths, women and the disabled.
In an interview, Andrew Manyika said Zimbabwe’s image and national reputation are critical factors in attracting foreign investment; thus a law has to exist to protect the country from rogue elements.
“A clean image of the country is essential and a cornerstone of foreign investment thus soiling of the country by rogue elements should be dealt with forthwith.
Sharing same sentiments, Sandra Chitepo said the bill is a necessity which will promote and guard the country’s national interests through criminalising acts that campaign against Zimbabwe aimed at undermining the country.
“We have unpatriotic citizens who peddle lies to get money thus this bill is essential in dealing with such”, she said.
“Criticizing and slurring our leaders is uncalled for; as it has detrimental effects when they embark on business missions thus this bill will defend our interests at all costs’, she said.
In August 2020, a motion on the need for a Patriot Bill was tabled in the Parliament of Zimbabwe. The fundamental reason behind was to prohibit any Zimbabwean citizen from wilfully communicating messages intended to harm the image and reputation of the country on international platforms or engaging with foreign countries with the intention of communicating messages intended to harm the country’s positive image or its integrity and reputation.”
Dave Hove said Zimbabwe is writhing in illegal sanctions imposed by the West at the behest by our people and this has affected ordinary citizens thus the Patriotic Bill will hold people to accountability.
” …it is our own people who advocated and called for the imposition of illegal sanctions against us; ordinary citizens are suffering hence through this bill they will pay for their mistakes”.
Weighing in; Zanu- PF Chief Whip Pupurai Togarepi said “The government has always tried to persuade its citizens to behave in a patriotic way to maintain unity but after the coming in of opposition parties in 1999 many agendas came to the fore and it led to a situation where you are at war as a country; it is difficult to manage behaviour and you cannot arbitrarily arrest people without a law to back that.”
The reputations of both Zanu-PF and the government have been damaged over the past two decades. The US and EU imposed economic and travel sanctions on party officials, military figures and companies over unjustified circumstances.
For years; the opposition parties in Zimbabwe have connived with hostile foreign governments and nationals so as to inflict harm on the country through peddling lies; stage managing- violence, faking abductions; which have discouraged foreign investment and dealt the country a major blow in its efforts to revive the economy.