On Tuesday last week, ruling party MPs ensured that Zimbabweans will hence forth live in perpetual terror of the State when they enthusiastically passed the Constitutional Amendment Bill No 17.
Its passage into law will transform this country into a vast Gulag, effectively declaring Zimbabwe a de facto one-party State. The Bill is a coup that completes the full cycle of repression by plugging the loopholes in both AIPPA and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).....
The next front of assault on property rights, at the rate at which things are going, could be foreign factories and companies, or those whose owners are deemed to threaten national interests.
The usurpation of the authority of the judiciary poses a serious threat to efforts at turning around the economy, while the timing of the passage of the Bill was an instructive demonstration of the dearth of strategic planning and timing in the ruling party. Whether it was a show of the now familiar mindless and empty bravado directed at the visiting International Monetary Fund mission that was in the country, the mind boggles.
The IMF team is unlikely to have been impressed with both the Bill and the 11th hour payment of the US$120 million towards settling Harare's arrears in the hope of staving off expulsion from the international financial institution. The best that Zimbabwe can now expect from the IMF Board is that it will not expel the country, but neither will it open the taps to new balance of payment support, simply because Zimbabwe has not demonstrated any resolve to put the economy on the path to recovery. Mere expressions of intent are one thing, determined action towards attainment of an economic turnaround is quite another.
The actions of the ruling party MPs demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt where the real threat to national interests and security is coming from.
They may celebrate in the mistaken belief that in withdrawing travel documents from people who are calling for this country to be punished by the international community, they are responding to the EU and US travel sanctions. But, in fact, they are building a wall around Zimbabwe out of which people considered "dissidents" will not be allowed. The immediate targets are members of the opposition MDC and those from non-governmental organisations and civic society groups. To this, add media houses and practitioners.....