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The Zimbabwean army is aiming to monitor social media ,causing panic among civilians and human right groups

Well this doesn’t inspire hope…..

In a recent statement at a 25-week military training camp Zimbabwe National Army commander Edzai Chimonyo has stated that the army is opting to begin monitoring social media communications between Zimbabwean civilians. Excerpts from the speech can be read below as follows :
“As commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, I am happy that the course laid a proper foundation in the areas of cyber security, which pose a dangerous threat to our national security.”
“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.”
As both statements show, the army has definitely become more aware or the affects of cyber warfare and cyber crimes. However it currently seems like much of that focus is aimed on just social media, and in a country where multiple civil protests and alternative political movements have gained momentum on social media, it does make one worry as to whether Zimbabwe is heading into becoming a surveillance similar to countries like China.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) seems to share the same fears , as it states how surveillance or regulation of social media should be handled by a civilian wing of the government and not the army itself, as well as aiming to enhance communication in the country not shut it down as shown in the quote below:
“The issue of regulating the digital space should be done in a structured manner whereby there is a law that comes into effect. In this case the Ministry of ICT is drafting a Cyber Crime and Data Protection Bill which combines two broad thematic areas. We only hope that the government is coming up with this law for the purpose of enhancing communication through the digital space rather than shutting it down.”
Hopefully such a bill can actually be drafted, along with a less aggressive army policy on social media being implemented, especially considering recent history such as last January’s Internet Shutdowns.
Only time can tell of course but what could be brewing here is one of the most important situations regarding civil rights and liberties such as privacy, free speech and even the right to information if internet usage itself is suddenly in need of addressing.
We’ll keep you posted on how the situation evolves. Stay tuned for more updates.

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