Renowned investigative journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono says Patriotic Bill, which is being pushed by the ruling ZANU PF party in unpatriotic, but will promote the further suppression of human rights in the country.
Chin’ono points out that in 2008 ZANU-PF led a violent & murderous campaign killing rural folks accused of voting for the MDC, saying that most of these sought refuge in foreign embassies, adding that this Bill will criminalise that.
“The Patriotic Bill being pushed through parliament by Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF will criminalize asking for international help, when ZANUPF starts butchering citizens as happened here,” he says.
“Many of these terrified Zimbabweans sought assistance from foreign embassies otherwise they would have died.
“The Patriot Bill will criminalize that. There is NOTHING Patriotic by using an unconstitutional law to muzzle citizens,” he says.
Chin’ono maintains that being patriotic means STOPPING the killing of innocent citizens because they support the MDC.
There is nothing patriotic about supporting killers, and asking us not to call them out using an unconstitutional law.
He strongly believes that the Constitution allows citizens to challenge or criticise the government and to exercise free speech.
Some critics say, the love, devotion and strong support for one’s country should not be forced on citizens through legislation. Neither should honesty about one’s country’s shortcomings be considered to be unpatriotic or campaigning against one’s own country.
The Bill, which has stirred debate criminalises citizens’ communication with foreign governments without state approval.
If enacted, the so-called Patriot Bill will impose heavy jail terms on those convicted.
Human rights activists say the bill is an attempt to silence dissent in the country.
Dewa Mavhinga, the Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch, says the bill is a move towards authoritarianism by a government that does not tolerate democracy and human rights.