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ORIGINS OF THE ZIMBABWE PATRIOTIC ACT.


Zimbabwe Reverses Discovery Law.


In 1998, Zimbabwe made the decision to reclaim its land from former colonizers and illegal settlers, returning it to its rightful owners. This action was seen as a threat by countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil, which were built on the illegal property rights obtained through Discovery Law (Colonial Doctrine of Discovery) or the Law of Nations.


To counteract this shift in international legal custom, the Westminster Democracy Foundation, along with the US government and EU, attempted to undermine Zimbabwe's land reform by sponsoring the creation of the Broadbased Civil Alliance by Zimbabwean lawyers, anti-government civil activists and trade unionists.


This alliance aimed to oppose the necessary changes to the Zimbabwean constitution agreed upon at the Lancaster House Conference, to stop land reform.


The proposed constitutional changes by ZANU PF in 1999, would have enabled the Zimbabwean government to carry out compulsory land appropriation and legislate that the British government handle all compensation of their kith and keen (white farmers) for land and improvements.


To prevent this constitutional change, the civil alliance -supported by funds from the West- launched an aggressive campaign to convince Zimbabweans to vote against the new constitution.


Neo-Colonialism Fights Back.


The alliance's young lawyers went on roadshows and organized seminars -misleading Zimbabweans by claiming that allowing the government to change the constitution would result in Mugabe serving a life term- which they argued would ruin the country.


Little was mentioned about the issue of land reform, for which white farmers were sponsoring them to oppose the constitutional change.


To highlight the alleged problems with Mugabe having a life term, the alliance, together with white farmers and the trade union (ZCTU) -which had surprisingly shifted its support to the same white farmers and capital that had exploited workers- appealed to Western governments to portray Mugabe's rule as detrimental.


They sought to achieve this by urging the West to deny the Zimbabwean government multilateral loans and balance of payments, thereby slowing down government infrastructure projects and spending.


The request made by the anti-land reform movement in Zimbabwe coincided with the West's challenge of trying to remove Zimbabwean soldiers from Congo, where they were disrupting the agenda of Rwanda and Uganda to overthrow Laurent Kabila and divide Congo into five easy-to-loot states.


Despite Zimbabwe not defaulting on any repayments, on September 14, 1999, the IMF and International Development Agency of the  World Bank, ceased providing loans, debt cancellation, or technical support to Zimbabwe.


In doing so, they cited Zimbabwe's alleged mismanagement of funds by deploying soldiers to Congo -which they claimed violated the multilateral financial institutions' Structural Economic Adjustment Program that the country was following.


This withdrawal of loans for development and reconstruction, as well as balance of payment support by the multilateral institutions, at a time when the country was engaged in a war to fulfill a SADC ORGAN duty, had an immediate impact on the economy.


As a result, the economy spiraled into a balance of payment deficit, planned government expenditures were abruptly halted, infrastructure projects came to a standstill, transportation issues emerged, the local currency devalued, unemployment rose and the economy entered a downward spiral -leading to growing dissatisfaction with the government.


Around the same time, the well-funded Broadbased Civil Alliance and trade unions, joined forces to form a political party called the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in November 1999.


This party also received funding from the Westminster Democracy Foundation, Western governments and white farmers with the aim of encouraging Zimbabweans -disenchanted with ZANU PF, which was facing sabotage from both the West and white business interests- to vote for democratic change and the Western-backed puppet, in the upcoming parliamentary elections in June 2000.


The overarching goal was for the aggressive "no constitutional change vote" campaign led by the Broadbased Civil Alliance (which included many members of the newly formed MDC party) to result in a rejected new constitution through the referendum. Subsequently, it was expected that the newly formed Western-backed puppet party would seize power and reverse land reform, thereby maintaining the Doctrine of Discovery and the white colonial property rights world order.


As planned, in February 2000, Zimbabweans, deceived into believing that the purpose of the constitutional change was to establish a Mugabe lifetime presidency, voted against the constitutional amendment that would have allowed for land expropriation and for the UK to pick up the compensation tab.


However, despite their efforts in campaigning for the referendum, four months later, in the June parliamentary elections, the MDC narrowly lost with 57 seats to ZANU PF's 61. These elections were considered some of the most competitive in Zimbabwean history.


This result meant that the MDC no longer had the power to reverse land appropriation, while ZANU PF had another term to use its parliamentary majority, to amend the land appropriation act and expedite land reform.


Instead of gracefully accepting defeat, Western countries -devastated by the prospect of land reform- influenced the MDC to claim that they lost the elections due to violence.


However, this claim was untrue, as both the referendum and the election campaigns, which the MDC and Broadbased Civil Alliance had actively participated in, were conducted freely and fairly without any violence. The success of the "no vote” in the referendum, served as evidence of this fact, leading SADC and Commonwealth observers to endorse the elections as generally free and fair and representing a significant step forward for democracy in Zimbabwe.


Individuals like David Matsanga from Kenya have alleged that although the Commonwealth provided a positive report, people like Obasanjo had been paid to present a negative report against Zimbabwe, to serve the Western agenda. However, him [David] and Thabo Mbeki stood up against this manipulation.


Illegal US Sanctions Collectively Punish Civilians.


In retaliation, the US government imposed ZDERA (Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act) sanctions against Zimbabwe in December of the same year. This congressional law extended the isolation of the Zimbabwean government from multilateral financial institutions, which had begun in September 1999 with the arbitrary cancellation of multilateral loans, in order to cripple the Zimbabwean army and economy.


The purpose of the law was to starve the Zimbabwean government of loans, balance of payment support and funds to operate its parastatals, pay its large civil service and provide services to the people of Zimbabwe, with the aim of discouraging Zimbabweans from voting for Mugabe in the 2002 presidential elections.


Just now, some senior members of the MDC who have defected from MDC/CCC are disclosing that it was Tendai Biti, David Coltart and Welshman Ncube, who drafted the ZDERA bill and presented it to the US Congress.


Despite the sanctions, Robert Mugabe comfortably won the presidential elections in May 2002, largely due to the support of rural voters who were content with land reform.


As Thabo Mbeki has stated in numerous videos, the West was so outraged that Tony Blair asked Thabo Mbeki to allow NATO troops to be deployed from South Africa, to remove Mugabe from power, simply because he was dismantling the colonial system. Nevertheless, Thabo Mbeki rejected the suggestion.


In immediate response, US President, George Bush, declared a national emergency upon 77 Zimbabwean business entities, investors and civilians whom he identified as extraordinary and unusual threats to US national security and foreign policy interests.


As a result, the US government deployed the IEEPA (International Emergency Economic Powers Act) to impose additional illegal sanctions by issuing executive orders (EO13288), to cripple the 77 black farmers, investors, agro-processing companies and financial institutions in the country. This was achieved by denying them international payment clearances, loans, material assistance, business, software, technology and machinery. They also prohibited any American or anyone wanting to do business with America, from engaging in business with them.


The executive orders were subsequently renewed, and new entities and individuals were added in 2005. In 2008, the sanctions escalated to include the Zimbabwean government, with additional clauses added to OFAC's Zimbabwe Sanctions Program, Section II, specifically prohibiting the clearing of funds, providing loans, technology, material assistance and logistics to the government of Zimbabwe, its ministries, any companies owned by the government, or anyone conducting business with the government or any of the other 144 specially designated nationals.


With this 2008 amendment to the executive orders, Zimbabweans were effectively under illegal sanctions imposed upon their own government, with ministries and parastatals also being targeted.


All these economic attacks on innocent Zimbabweans by the West, along with the subsequent threats of invasion, were carefully orchestrated by the MDC (today's CCC), who manufactured consent to create the impression that they were being persecuted by a violent government that needed to be overthrown by the “right to intervene” of Western powers.


Opposition Reaps Dividends of Persecuting Civilians.


It was this persecution that led to a tightly contested election in 2008, which gave the MDC a slight majority in Parliament. However, Morgan Tsvangirai failed to reach the threshold of 50% plus one, so a run-off election was held on June 27, 2008, and Morgan withdrew five days before the vote, ultimately giving Mugabe the win.


In a WikiLeaks report of a meeting between MDC leaders and the US embassy in Zimbabwe after the 2008 election, it is mentioned that Nelson Chamisa asked the US government to impose more sanctions on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean army, and for the US to send marines to invade the country.


Despite the destruction caused by US invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Zimbabwean leader was requesting the US government to destroy Zimbabwe for his political ambitions, similar to what Ahmad Chalabi did in Iraq.


As a result, the US complied by sending "the elders" (Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela and Gracia Machele) to Zimbabwe, along with a veiled threat that ZANU PF should form a Government of National Unity with the MDC or face invasion.


Thus, under the threat of violence instigated by a Zimbabwean, Zimbabwe was compelled to bypass its democratic processes and form a GNU with terrorists who were using starvation, thirst, denial of healthcare, destruction of jobs, human suffering and deaths caused by illegal sanctions, to terrorize/persecute Zimbabweans into voting for them.


Therefore, not only were the illegal sanctions orchestrated and called for by the opposition, but they and other anti-Zimbabwean activists, also spread negative propaganda against Zimbabwe, staged false flags to discredit the country and convinced their Western partners to threaten invasion, in order to force a GNU.


The same opposition then exploited the ensuing chaos during elections and the negative impact of the illegal sanctions, blaming the Zimbabwean government for autocracy, ineptitude and corruption -to encourage neighboring countries and other nations to isolate the country.


The consequence of this was the further collapse of the Zimbabwean economy which led to the displacement of millions of Zimbabweans into the SADC region, particularly South Africa.


The same opposition and anti-Zimbabwean activists were then encouraged by the US government to exploit this refugee crisis and to incite xenophobia against Zimbabweans in South Africa, by pressuring South Africans to push Zimbabweans to return and confront ZANU PF's mismanagement.


They did this fully aware that it was their illegal sanctions and their continuous advocacy for them, that was causing economic degradation, the collapse of essential services and the displacement of refugees in that country.


By the end of 2018, after the elections that brought Emmerson Mnangagwa to power, Saraj Popovic of CANVAS, Vanguard and Open Society Foundation, began to train individuals like Pastor Evan and MDC members in Europe and Zambia, to stage Arab Spring-style protests in Zimbabwe with the aim of toppling the government.


The aim of the trainings was for these trained leaders to incite the masses to rise up and stage violent protests, termed "Final Push protests," in order to provoke the government to deploy soldiers and crackdown on the protestors. In turn, this would pave the way for Western intervention to fulfill Chamisa's dream.


In another case of a Zimbabwe working with enemies of the nation, to destabilize the country. In 2015, Itai Dzamara received an endowment of over US$200,000 in his South African bank accounts, to spark protests against the government.


It is said that his failure to incite these protests, led to his disappearance at the hands of a Canadian operative -who allegedly admitted under interrogation- to abducting and murdering him, for not fulfilling the mandate to disrupt the country.


How I Conceived The Patriotic Act.


It was under these conditions, that I began playing my role in the anti-sanctions movement in 2017. And it was evident to me that Zimbabweans were being used as pawns by Western governments to destabilize Zimbabwe.


Despite our national intelligence being aware of these machinations, they seemed unable to act. Firstly, the threat of more sanctions and potential invasions, prevented them from taking action against clear acts of treason, such as Chamisa's request for a foreign government to invade his own nation.


Secondly, there was no specific law to deter Zimbabweans from colluding with foreign governments, to attack their nation through economic siege or destabilization.


Therefore, when I started my fight as the Chairman of Zimbabweans Unite Against US War Sanctions, it became clear that as a nation, we needed a law to deter our own citizens from collaborating with the enemy to sabotage their own country. The challenge was to create a law that would not further delegitimize and isolate the Zimbabwean government as a rogue and authoritarian regime.


So, I began researching the laws that the West itself used to prevent their own citizens from colluding with enemies of their countries, to harm their own nations.


During my research, I discovered that the United States had a range of laws created during times of war and uncertainty, to prevent their citizens from collaborating with enemies of the United States.


US Laws To Punish Treason.


These included the USA PATRIOT Act, enacted after 9/11, to increase surveillance of US residents and to prevent them from working with enemies of the US or funding individuals opposing US and Western hegemony.


Alongside that, there was the Logan Act, maintained for over two centuries, which prohibits US citizens from negotiating with foreign governments about US national and security interests, without authority from the US government.


Then there is the Smith Act, which prohibits attempts by groups and individuals to organize the overthrow the US government through propaganda, advocacy or armed conflict, as US authorities believed had occurred in France's fall to Germany in 1940.


Concurrently with the creation of the Smith Act, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was established to prevent Nazis and Fascists from using propaganda in America, to influence American citizens and members of Congress against America's position in World War II.


It was later amended after the war to counter the promotion of Communism and other nation’s ideologies, to US citizens and members of Congress.


This law requires anyone who presents foreign ideas and lobbies US government officials, to register with the Department of Defense as an agent of a foreign government, allowing for the government to assess if these activities align with US national interests.


In addition to these laws, due to the fear of Soviet influence, the American government created the Anti-Communist Act, which prohibited Americans from promoting Soviet communist ideology, as it threatened America's capitalism.


Therefore, in the uncertain times Zimbabwe was [is] facing, confronted by an economic war that could escalate as we have seen when sanctions in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan turned into hot wars. I wrote two proposals to two government departments.


In these proposals, among other ideas, I suggested that the Zimbabwean government create a law that would be a hybrid of the Logan Act and the USA PATRIOT Act, to deter Zimbabweans from collaborating with enemies of the state to overthrow the government.


The reason I advocated benchmarking the laws to American laws, was to ensure that when the West criticized the laws as draconian, we could point out that we were simply following best practice set by the United States through the Logan Act, US PATRIOT Act, FARA, Smith Act and the Anti-Communist Acts.


Currently, a Zimbabwean national named Divine Mafa, who is living in America, wrote to the US Secretary of State asking him to indict me for influencing American citizens with an anti-American sanctions message, without registering with the Department of Justice, in line with FARA.


Mr. Mafa did this fully aware that the US government has increased the use of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, since 16 people were indicted in 2016, for advancing Russian propaganda in America, without registering as agents of the Russian government, with the Department of Justice.


As I mentioned earlier, the US has even more laws like the Smith Act, FARA and the Anti-Communist Act, among others I may not be aware of, to ensure that its citizens are discouraged from working with enemies of the country to overthrow the government or compromise its national interests.


The executive order sanctions themselves declare a national emergency on Zimbabwe and utilize the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to prevent American citizens from assisting nations and actors identified as threats to US interests. From all these laws, it was evident that Zimbabwe itself needed its own laws to deter treason and subversion.


From my proposal, the Patriotic Act was drafted, promoted and has now been enacted as an amendment to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Amendment). Contrary to false media reports, it is not aimed at preventing Zimbabweans from criticizing the government or the President before elections.


The law merely prohibits Zimbabwean citizens and permanent residents from becoming agents of foreign powers, engaging in lobbying for or promoting foreign nations to impose or to escalate sanctions on the country to hinder its economic development.


Additionally, it criminalizes Zimbabwean citizens and permanent residents who spread false information or actively campaign against their own country, with the intention of soliciting sanctions, encouraging military intervention, or advocating for the overthrow of the government.


The penalties for these offenses include jail terms of no less than 5 years. Furthermore, individuals found guilty may also face the possibility of losing their citizenship if they hold dual citizenship, provided that their loss of citizenship does not render them stateless.


I firmly believe that such laws are long overdue, and I take pride in having contributed to the protection of our national interests by proposing this legislation.


Written by Rutendo Matinyarare, the Chairman of ZASM and ZUAUWS.


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