Zimbabwe’s cabinet has approved a draft law criminalising acts in which locals campaign or call for the imposition of sanctions against the country.Addressing journalists following Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the proposed law seeks to make it illegal for citizens to have any cooperation with hostile government for self-gain or to inflict damage on the country’s national interests.
The draft law would bar Zimbabweans, whether individually or as groups, from holding “unauthorized” communication and negotiations with governments considered to be hostile to the country.
“The individuals or groups involve themselves in issues of foreign relations without verifying facts or engaging domestic authorities. Such wilful misinformation of foreign governments will, therefore, make the individuals or groups liable for prosecution,” Mutsvangwa said.
She said the proposed law is premised on the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which “recognises States as legitimate players in foreign relations and negotiations.”
“Private players thus have no business in foreign relations and negotiations between countries,” she said.
The proposed law will now be tabled before parliament for approval.
The approval by cabinet of the draft law comes a few days after members of the Southern African Development Community rallied behind Zimbabwe’s call for the removal of Western economic sanctions against Harare.