Zimbabwe Seeks to Bar Citizens Talking to Foreign States

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Zimbabwe’s cabinet wants to bar its citizens from holding “unauthorized” communication and negotiations with hostile governments.

“Such communication or negotiation has a direct or indirect implication on Zimbabwe’s foreign relations and policy,” Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters Tuesday in the capital, Harare.

The proposed cabinet amendments to a current criminal law will make illegal any cooperation with overseas government for self-gain or to inflict damage on Zimbabwe’s people and national interests, she said.

Individuals or groups who involve themselves in issues of foreign relations without verifying facts or engaging domestic authorities will be liable for prosecution, said Mutsvangwa.

The proposed law will also criminalize the staging of protests which coincide with the hosting of major international and continental events by the country. Making unsubstantiated claims of torture and abductions will also be illegal.

Zimbabwe has often labeled government critics as agents acting at the behest of foreign powers. In July, the southern African nation accused the U.S. of interfering with its internal affairs after journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was arrested, in a further souring of relations between the two nations.

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