By Trevor Makonyonga
The Zimbabwe government has “considered and approved” alterations to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which will see the criminalization of “unauthorised” meetings of private citizens with foreign governments.
This has been revealed in the cabinet brief released after the Tuesday, 27 October cabinet briefing.
The statement reads, “Cabinet considered and approved the amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9 :23] as presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
“Cabinet noted that the current law does not criminalise the unauthorized communication or negotiation by private citizens with foreign governments. Such communication or negotiation has a direct or indirect implication on Zimbabwe’s foreign relations and policy.
“According to the Constitution, the foreign policy of Zimbabwe must be based on the promotion and protection of the national interests of Zimbabwe; respect for international law; peaceful co-existence with other nations; and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means. In addition, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) only recognizes States as legitimate players in foreign relations and negotiations.
” Private players thus have no business in foreign relations and negotiations between countries”, it read.
“The amendments will criminalise the conduct of isolated citizens or groups who, for self-gain co-operate or connive with hostile foreign governments to inflict suffering on Zimbabwean citizens and to cause damage to national interests. The individuals or groups involve themselves in issues of foreign relations without verifying facts or engaging domestic authorities. Such willful misinformation of foreign governments will therefore make the individuals or groups liable for prosecution. Other actions that will become punishable include planned and timed protests deliberately designed to coincide with major international, continental or regional events or visits. There are also various unsubstantiated claims of torture and abductions that are concocted to tarnish the image of government, and amendments will crimilise such conduct.”
Also in the same meeting, plans to open up the countries borders were availed.
The initial opening has been slated for December 1.
“Cabinet resolved that the opening of border posts be phased, beginning with Beitbridge, Plumtree, Victoria Falls, Chirundu, Nyamapanda and Forbes.
The borders will open first to private passenger vehicles and pedestrian traffic as from 1st December 2020, while further assessment is being undertaken with regard to preparations for handling public passenger transport.
” Cabinet wishes to inform the public that border operating hours are being fixed between 0600 and 1800 hours until further assessment of the situation.
Curfew hours are being extended beyond the current 2000 hours to 2200 hours for the convenience of those who are cleared late at ports of entry. This will be subject to gazetting.” The brief statement revealed.