President Mugabe speaks on new social media monitoring ministry

Robert Mugabe

The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, spoke on why his government created a ministry to monitor social media.

At an event where he opened a Community Information Center (essentially a place where residents of a community can access computers and the internet), the president said that the ministry was about defending the country against people using the internet to fight the government.

Without mentioning which countries his government is emulating (but probably referring to China), Mugabe said that other nations were at “an advanced stage in controlling social media”. The choice of words betrays that it may not just be about monitoring social media but actually controlling it.


Said the president:

“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.

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.”

The government introduced a new ministry of Cybersecurity, Threat Detection, and Mitigation last month and Mugabe appointed former finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa to head the ministry. While initially, our optimistic look on things was that was that this was an all-encompassing cybersecurity ministry for, eventually, the government made it in so many words that is about fighting political activists on social media.

Essentially, the ministry’s role is to monitor social media for what government calls social media abuse.

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One thought on “President Mugabe speaks on new social media monitoring ministry

  1. Obviously in Zimbabwe and other repressive countries cybersecurity means a completely different thing. If the arrest of Martha O’Donovan is anything to go by, Zimbabwean cybersecurity means monitoring the activities of political opponents or suppressing free speech on the only available platform people can use to freely express themselves.

    With the creation of the Ministry of Cybersecurity, it is more than likely this increasingly repressive regime of Robert and Grace Mugabe will step up their clamp down on Internet users. If you think you are a target, it is worthily to take some steps to protect yourself online. For the price of a castle, you can make monthly subscriptions to a VPN service to protect your identity.

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