Everyone knows by now that a new ministry was commissioned last month, the Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation. The new ministry was established to deal with the significant threats posed by cyber criminals striving to effect regime change in the country.
The government confirmed that the ministry’s focus will be on social media regulation. That was not surprising because it was social media abuse which necessitated the commissioning of the new ministry.
It was after inaccurate messages were shared on WhatsApp and were believed which led to temporary shortages in basic goods and not-so-temporary price increases that the ministry was instated.
It was easy to mock the government for their response to that whole episode but what could not be denied was that we do have a fake news problem on social media. The problem is not exclusive to Zimbabwe, even the so called super powers are dealing with the humble but super powerful social media, WhatsApp and Facebook mostly.
We had the debate on whether the ministry was necessary, or at least if there was need to deal with the problem of fake news on social media.
Techzim spoke to current MDC-T Vice President and former Minister of Information and Communication Technology Nelson Chamisa and sought his views on the Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation.
While Mr Chamisa sees the need for there to be some sort of social media regulation he believes the creation of a fully fledged ministry is over the top.
He argues that whatever the new ministry is seeking to achieve could and should have been achieved just by the operation of the law. The government should have gone about setting the necessary laws to deal with the problem rather than expensively commission a new ministry.
At a time when the government is practically broke it is difficult to argue with Chamisa here. Why take the expensive and unnecessary route? Such was the government’s panic when they truly realised the power social media has, I guess.
I think if they needed Mr Patrick Chinamasa’s expertise as a lawyer to draft the necessary laws needed to deal with the problem at hand, he could have been appointed new Minister of Information and Communication. Or any other ministry tasked with cyber security. In the end did he even have to be a minister to contribute to the drafting of the necessary bills?
Do you think Chamisa is right or is he bound to oppose every decision made by Zanu PF as he is Vice President of the opposition? Let us know in the comments below.