Outrage as Zimbabwe’s Military Declares Social Media a ‘Dangerous Threat’

Outrage as Zimbabwe’s Military Declares Social Media a ‘Dangerous Threat’

By Kudzai Chimhangwa |

Is the country “now hurtling toward being a military state”?

In March 2020, Zimbabwe’s National Army Commander Edzai Chimonyo said that the military would soon start prying into private communications between citizens to “guard against subversion”.

Speaking at a military graduation course held at Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru, Chimonyo expressed satisfaction that the course had laid a proper foundation in the area of cybersecurity, telling senior officers:

Social media poses a dangerous threat to our national security. Social media is one of the tools that is being used for misinformation and I believe that your training has been an eye-opener to the rigors and realities of technological advancements.

This declaration by the military has sparked outrage among Zimbabweans, many of whom are concerned over the increasing deterioration of freedom of expression in the country.

Last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Cabinet gave the nod to the Cyber Crime, Security and Data Protection Bill and set it to be tabled for debate in parliament. The Bill, which was drafted in 2016, is designed to fight cybercrime — but if passed, it will also give the government the latitude to snoop on citizens’ private communication.

This article was first published by the Global Voices on March 19, 2020.

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