[JURIST] Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive] government on Monday announced new anti-terrorism laws that would allow the government to outlaw any group it declares to be a "foreign or international terrorist organization." The proposed Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism Bill comes two weeks after the government arrested 15 members of the opposition party [JURIST report] Movement for Democratic Change [official web site] for possessing weapons to allegedly overthrow the government and assassinate Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile]. The charges were subsequently dropped [JURIST report], with officials complaining that police had bungled their investigations. The suspects were accused of having ties to the Zimbabwe Freedom Movement [manifesto], a group established for the sole purpose of overthrowing Mugabe.
If passed, the new laws would proscribe fines or imprisonment for anyone who supplies information to terrorist organizations, possesses weapons for the purposes of terrorism, trains or recruits people for terrorist activities. According to a report in the Zimbabwe Independent, the laws would give the government authority to crack down on opposition and authorize its officials to monitor private telephone and electronic communications. SAPA has more.