A ZANU PF activist Rutendo Matinyarare says Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) president Nelson Chamisa could have breached the Patriotic Act if he fails to prove that the elections were rigged.

Matinyarare says Chamisa’s sentiments have potential to undermine Zimbabwe’s efforts to lure foreign investors.

“If Chamisa and other CCC leaders claim that the elections were stolen but they fail to prove the rigging in court, then it means that they:

“1. submitted a statement they knew to be false and had no reasonable basis of believing it to be true.

“2. And they submitted it to a global audience with the intention of among other things, tarnishing Zimbabwe’s image to influence investors to boycott Zimbabwe or to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe, for their advantage.

“This is a contravention of Clause 22A (4) (b) of the Criminal Law (codification and amendment) Act,” she says.

The Act created a new crime, “wilfully injuring the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe”.

According to critics, the crime is expressed in convoluted language which is difficult to understand, and there is a real danger that law enforcement authorities will interpret it too broadly.

Hence concern has been expressed, by organizations such as Veritas Zimbabwe amongst others, that the crime will stifle political debate and have a chilling effect on the activities of civil society organisations.

Apparently, the penalties provided by the Act include loss of citizenship, denial of the right to vote and the death penalty.

And analysts say by imposing these penalties on people simply for peacefully exercising their human rights is patently unconstitutional and incompatible with Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations.