Lawyers have described as unlawful the behaviour of Chiredzi-based employee in the President’s Office who allegedly beat up a prosecutor for not standing at attention when the national flag was being lowered at one of the buildings in the town recently.
“There is nowhere in the country’s statutes where walking is outlawed during the taking down of the national flag, what was done by the CIO operative in question is illegal.
“Imagine all cars passing by a place where the flag is being raised and they all stop in the CBD of Harare, that would create serious congestion. Even if there was such a law the operative needed not take the law into his own hands,” said Grace Bwanya of Chihambakwe Makonese and Ncube Legal Practioners.
Collen Maboke of Ruvengo Maboke and Company said while there is a Flag Act the law is silent on whether people should be at attention when the flag is being raised or taken down.
“There is an Act that says the flag must be respected but it is silent on movement during the lowering of the flag so the onus is upon the President to promulgate an instrument that incorporates that.
“The CIO officer was offside, there is no such law that forces people to be at attention when the flag is being raised it only talks about respecting the flag,” he said.
Another lawyer with Mupindu Legal Practioners, Tongai Mutindi said he went through the Act on the flag when he read the story in The Mirror but nowhere does it say cars should stop and people should be on attention when it is being taken down or being raised.
He also added that even the Constitution is silent on that although it mentions something about the flag.
According to Zimbabwe Flag Act Presidential Order No 16 of 1980 Subsection 6 Protection ofthe Flag says, “Any person who burns, mutilates or otherwise insults the Flag or a flag which resembles or is intended to resemble the Flag or any reproduction thereof, in circumstances which are calculated or likely to show disrespect, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years,”.