FOREIGN Affairs ministry secretary James Manzou yesterday told Parliament that Zimbabwe would soon craft a law to criminalise the support of sanctions imposed on the country by individuals and organisations.
Manzou appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs to respond to a petition by the Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Trust which had recommended that such a law be crafted to criminalise support of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The country has been under sanctions that were imposed by the European Union and the United States for more than two decades.
“The enacting of a law that ensures that Zimbabwean persons, both individual and organisations, desist from behaviour that supports illegal sanctions imposed on the Zimbabwean economy and livelihoods could help deal with these undesirable acts,” Manzou said.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade understands that Parliament is already debating the merits of criminalising the issue of speaking against one’s country and calling for the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe by individuals and organisations. A motion on the Patriotic Bill is already in the National Assembly.”
He said the Bill would be crafted by the Justice ministry as the Foreign Affairs ministry did not have the mandate to push for criminalisation of unpatriotic acts.
Manzou said countries such as the US, Australia, Singapore and China, among others, have such laws that prohibit sending of messages that harm the country’s image.
He said while the European Union lifted the economic sanctions under Article 19 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, the remaining measures on the Zimbabwe Defence Industries and on some service chiefs continued to affect the country’s economy.
Manzou said such laws, if enacted, could result in imprisonment of offenders.
On October 25, the country commemorated the Sadc Solidarity Anti-Sanctions Day, which calls for an end to sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
Source – Newsday