17 August 2017

Zimbabwe: Mandiwanzira Illegally Altered Cyber Crime Bill?

Photo: The Herald
ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira (file photo).

Technology and Courier Services minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, has clandestinely twisted Computer and Cyber Crime Bill and smuggled it to the Attorney General's office for perfection, a senior government official has suggested.

Loveness Ngwanga, a legal adviser within Mandiwanzira's portfolio, told a media workers workshop in the capital last week that the ministry has changed the bill from Computer and Cyber Crime Bill to Cyber Crime and Cyber Security.

"This bill which we are talking about is now before the Attorney General where it is being drafted; so as it is I am not comfortable to discuss it with you something which is now before the drafters and even if we discuss I cannot take your views because its already with the drafters," she said.

"As it is, it is no longer a Computer Crimes and Cyber Crimes bill, it is now a Cyber Crime and Cyber Security bill," said Ngwanga to the amazement of journalists and members of the civil society in attendance.

She also said the contents of the bill have been altered.

"It has been redrafted and a lot of things have been changed," she said.

She said the AG's office will be done with the perfection by the end of the month after which it will be taken back to minister Mandiwanzira who will then table it before cabinet.

The bill is being viewed with great suspicion by many citizens including human rights activists. If passed into law, it would enable the government to demand the source of information of any content deemed to be in violation of the law.

Citizens also view this bill as part of government's desperate efforts to gag social movements which of late have been using new media ecologies to mobilize.

According to government, the impending law whose initiation started last year after pictures of the falling at the Harare International Airport of President Robert Mugabe while coming from the African Union summit in Ethiopia, went viral, is meant to protect citizens from computer related crimes.

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