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signs draconian law
now risk spending 20 years in jail following the signing into law
by President Robert Mugabe of the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Bill which introduces stiffer penalties against the publication
Law (Codification and Reform) Bill Chapter 9:23 which was passed
by Parliament at the end of last year, was gazetted on 2 June 2005
after the President assented to it.
The date it
comes into force is still to be published by Statutory Instrument.
The Act, introduces
harsher penalties than those provided for under the Public Order
and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
convicted of contravening Section 31(a) of the Act will be jailed
for a period not exceeding 20 years or to a fine of up to Z$2,5
million or to both fine and imprisonment.
15 of POSA, which is similar to Section 31of the Codification Act,
one is liable to a five-year jail term or alternatively a fined
$100 000 or both imprisonment and fine.
of the Act which is almost regurgitation of Section 15 of POSA,
makes it an offence for anyone inside or outside Zimbabwe to publish
or communicate to any other person a statement which is wholly or
materially false with the intention or realising that there is real
risk or a possibility of any of the following:
or promoting public disorder or public violence or endangering
affecting the defence or economic interests of Zimbabwe.
public confidence in a law enforcement agency, the Prison Service
or the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe.
with, disrupting or interrupting any essential service.
An offence will
still have been committed even if the publication or communication
does not result in any of the envisaged scenarios.
of the Act deals with issues extracted from Section 80 of AIPPA.
deals with issues that have to do with publishing or communicating
once convicted, one is liable to two years imprisonment or a Z$400
In terms of
the Codification Act a convict under Section 31 (b) is now liable
to a 20-year jail term or Z$2,5 million.
33 of the Codification is similar in all respects to Section 16
It deals with
undermining the authority of or insulting the President.
was taken from Section 46 of the repealed Law and Order Maintenance
Act (LOMA) which preceded POSA.
the making, publicly and intentionally, of any false statement (including
an act or gesture) about or concerning the President or Acting President
if the person knows or realises that there is a risk or possibility
of engendering feelings of hostility towards or causing hatred,
contempt or ridicule of him, whether in his official or personal
It is also an
offence to make an abusive, indecent, obscene or false statement
about the President, also in his official or personal capacity.
a fine of Z$20,000 or a one year jail term or to both fine and imprisonment.
The Codification Act raises the fine to Z$200 000 while the prison
term remains the same.
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