Apparently, reacting to the new wave of patriotism that has seen anti-President Robert Mugabe protestors draping the national flag, on Tuesday government warned that anyone who will manufacture or sale the country’s flag without permission from the ministry of Justice risks imprisonment or a fine.
Since a protest dubbed #Thisflag campaign began vendors have been recording brisk business from selling the national flag and the ban by government has thus not been heeded.
A defiant National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) leader Sten Zvorwadza vowed to continue selling the flag.
“Tiri kuda kumachipisa (we want to make them cheaper). So far we are selling them at $1,50 but we are working to have them retail for as little as $0.80 cents, so that everyone has access to one,” he said.
“As citizens, we stand guided by a common and practical custom that there is nothing wrong by being proud of your country through display of your national flag.
“This repressive government cannot cow us. We have a clear message for the government and our message is that; we will continue to use national flags in the manner we deem necessary.
“This government should rather concentrate on putting things right in this comatose economy rather than doing cat and mouse play with citizens over use of national flag.”
In a strong worded statement secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs Virginia Mabiza warned that perpetrators will face a penalty that may include a fine not exceeding $200 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding a year or both.
“Members of the public who engage in any action or activity which involves the sale or manufacture or use in contravention of the law are therefore warned that they are liable to prosecution, and are liable to be imprisoned if they are found guilty by a court of law,” she said.
However, legal experts said the ban was unconstitutional since it is an infringement of identity, dignity and free expression.