The newly-created Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation is a protective portfolio aimed at protecting the nation from cyber threats posed by the abuse of social media, Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba has said.
Mr Charamba said the ministry, which is being headed by former Finance Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa, was a high-security brief given the gravity of the threat posed by social media abuse. He said the appointment of Cde Chinamasa to the portfolio is informed by his rich history as a lawyer since there was need to develop laws to deal with cyber crime and set up new structures in that area.
"I want to give these words from the President. He said Ministry iyoyo, one, its new, ndiyo riva redu kubata makonzo aya anoita mischief using cyber space. He (President Mugabe) is very clear because this is a new ministry; it needs law development, which is precisely why he thought of no other than a person with legal competence to handle that area. Then, of course, he also wants the new Minister to be able to draw from the experience from other countries. He specifically made reference to Russia, he made reference to China, and he made reference to the Koreans as countries who have done exceedingly well in terms of ensuring some kind order and lawfulness in that area. He then spoke about the structures to make sure that the Ministry then takes a workable form. And of course to use his (President Mugabe) words again, it's called a protective Ministry, which means to protect the interests of the State," he said.
Mr Charamba said the ministry comes in the wake of social media mischief aimed at causing instability in the country. He dispelled social media reports suggesting that the ministry was useless and was some kind of demotion for Cde Chinamasa. Said Mr Charamba: "This is coming against the background of the abuse that we saw not too far back on social media, where the social media then causes some kind of excitement to the country, not on the basis of fact, but generation of copy which is in fact calculated to trigger a sense of panic in the economy, and that in itself suggests that it is indeed a major threat to State security.
"But you also recall that when we were doing the Bi-National Commission in South Africa, that subject matter came up and it was also a subject of discussion between the two Heads of State of South Africa and Zimbabwe, because we need to evolve a joint strategy to deal with that mischief. Saka hanzi vari kuita mischief iyoyo hokoyoi taisa in place riva. It is actually a very strategic responsibility that the minister has been given. He has been given that responsibility precisely because he has legal skills. It's a new area that needs to develop a body of law."
In the Cabinet reshuffle announced on Monday, President Mugabe appointed eight new ministers and reassigned 10 others. Three were dropped.