World Bulletin / News Desk
The government said on Tuesday the commercial production, sale or any “abuse” of the national flag would be prohibited under a little-used piece of legislation from the 1980s.
Justice Secretary Virginia Mabhiza said a conviction would attract fine of $200 or a jail term not exceeding one year, or both.
However, Zimbabweans have said the national flag became a symbol of protest after long-time President Robert Mugabe failed to listen to his citizens.
Promise Mkwananzi of the anti-government Tajamuka movement said: “This is insane, but from what I see, government is incensed by the use of the national flag during protests, with people draping themselves with replica flags to register their displeasure against [Mugabe’s] misrule.”
A lawyer and opposition leader, Jacob Mafume said: “[The law] is pointless and the beginning of the deconstruction of the symbols of Zimbabwe, such as the national flag -- ironically by the state itself.”
“The law has been in existence since 1987 and rarely used, but the state should specify what they mean by ‘abuse’ of the national flag,” Mafume added.
Like South Africans who used Chris Hani and Nelson Mandela’s images, the use of Che Guevara in South America and yellow umbrellas in Hong Kong, Zimbabweans have used the national flag as a symbol of protest in recent months.