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gazettes terrorism Bill
GOVERNMENT has gazetted
the Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism Bill that
seeks to give it enough power to deal with terrorism and mercenary
activities, which are increasingly becoming a problem worldwide.
The Bill, which was gazetted
last Friday, was expected to adequately address the phenomenon of
terrorism waged on an international scale.
At present, Zimbabwe
has no laws that adequately deal with terrorism and mercenary activities
on an international scale.
The Bill provides for
the suppression of foreign and international terrorism and mercenary
activities and seeks to repeal the Foreign Subversive Organisations
Act which does not address the problems adequately. The tabling
of the Bill comes in the wake of the arrest in 2004 by Zimbabwe’s
security forces at Harare International Airport of 67 mercenaries
in transit to Equatorial Guinea to topple the government in the
West African country.
Clause three of the Bill
provides for the punishment of persons who engage in foreign or
international terrorist activity.
Clauses four to six make
it an offence to undergo training for foreign or international terrorism,
to recruit persons to undergo such training, or to possess weaponry
that would be used for the purpose of foreign or international terrorist
The maximum penalty for
these offences would be life imprisonment.
The Bill seeks to make
it an offence to knowingly harbour or conceal a foreign terrorist
or to fail to report such terrorist within 72 hours of becoming
aware of his or her presence in Zimbabwe.
The maximum penalties
for these offences would be a fine of level 14 or 10 years’
imprisonment or both.
In the case of harbouring
or concealing a foreign or international terrorist, a fine of level
10 or five years’ imprisonment or both would be imposed for
failing to report one or failing to disclose such a terrorist’s
presence upon being questioned by an official.
Clause eight provides
for the designation of specific foreign or international terrorist
According to the clause,
the Minister of Justice may, after consultations with the Minister
responsible for Foreign Affairs, designate by notice in a statutory
instrument any organisation to be a foreign or international terrorist
organisation for the purpose of the Act.
The designation of an
organisation would have an effect of having the organisation declared
The clause, however,
provides for any designated organisation or any person affected
by the organisation’s designation to apply to the Minister
in the prescribed manner for the Minister to revoke the designation
of the organisation.
Clause 10 provides for
the punishment of persons soliciting support for designated foreign
or international terrorist organisations while clause 11 provides
for the punishment of persons supplying weaponry to foreign or international
terrorist organisations and the offence carries a penalty of life
Clause 12 and 13 seek
to punish persons, who provide other forms of direct assistance
to foreign or international terrorist organisations.
For example, clause 13
(a) seeks to punish any person who receives or holds money or other
property on behalf of any foreign or international terrorist organisation.
The Bill defines foreign
or international terrorist organisation as any associations of persons
formed with a view to overthrowing or taking over the government
of any foreign state by unlawful means or usurping the functions
of such government.
Foreign or international
terrorist activity is defined as doing any act inside or outside
Zimbabwe against the government of any foreign state which, if committed
against the Government of Zimbabwe, would constitute an act of insurgency,
banditry, sabotage or terrorism.
in Harare intercepted mercenaries who had made a stopover at Harare
International Airport to collect weapons at Manyame airbase en route
to Equatorial Guinea where they allegedly wanted to topple the government.
Members of the group were convicted and jailed for varying periods.
All of them, with the exception of their leader Simon Mann, a Briton,
have been released after completing their terms.
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