(Last Updated on September 4, 2021 by ZIMDAILY EDITOR)
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s parliament has passed a controversial cyber security bill that gives authorities sweeping powers to tackle offences without any amendments.
The bill that has been criticised by several opposing voices particularly the media now awaits the president to assent into law.
The latest legal document for cyber players has many contentious clauses, and digital players and human rights activists have on several times lobbied the law makers to refine the document before passing it into law.
Recently, digital players in Zimbabwe including (ZOCC) Zimbabwe Online Content Creators working with MISA Zimbabwe petitioned the speaker of parliament to intensively consult with the public, debate on highlighted ‘restrictive’ clauses before hurriedly passing the document into law.
The Minister of ICT Postal and Courier Services Hon Muswere acceded to relook at Clauses 13, 17, 23 and 164 of the Bill with a view to amend them but refused to relook into the establishment of Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) as the national data security centre.
Some of the controversial clauses include Section 5 and 7 of the Bill that seek to establish the Postal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) as the Cybersecurity Centre and Data Protection Authority.
The clauses give POTRAZ authority over three sensitive roles and or bodies, that is, regulator of the telecommunications industry, the cybersecurity centre and the data protection authority.
In simple terms, POTRAZ has been given power to both regulate and control data in Zimbabwe thus defeating the purpose of separation of powers.