By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has defended his controversial creation of a cyber security ministry which critics say was intended to clamp down on freedom of expression among locals.
The so-called Minister of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation, was assigned to ex-Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa during a recent cabinet reshuffle by the Zimbabwean leader.
“We have set up the Cyber Security Ministry to build our own cyber systems to defend ourselves from cybercrime. We are aware that there are some people who use the internet to fight us and implement what they say is regime change,” President Mugabe.
He was commissioning the Nkulumane Community Information Centre in Bulawayo Saturday.
He said Chinamasa, as a lawyer was capable of crafting systems to combat cybercrime.
“This is not a first, actually some nations are at an advanced stage in controlling this social media, which is why we thought that Minister Chinamasa as a lawyer can help in controlling our cyber space.
“Truth is we can use these computers for many things to promote development. But some people are using these computers to cause disharmony. There are a number of countries which went this route all because of abuse of the cyber space. We don’t want to emulate this.”
President Mugabe’s government has often been accused of clamping down on citizens’ rights to assemble freely and discuss issues relating to their socio-economic concerns.
The advent of social media has come up as a welcome substitute for citizens who cannot gather physically to have group discussions on what affects them.
Similarly, social media has come up as a great alternative to local radio and television broadcasting which the veteran leader’s regime has kept under tight control while his party has enjoyed unfettered access to it.
On realising this, it is said, the Zanu PF led government has moved to stampede citizens out of their social media space with signs that the clampdown could be worse as the campaign period for the 2018 elections hots up.