Former Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Obendigwa Mguni has called for the government to regulate social media by implementing strong cyber laws.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Mguni raised his concerns with the freedoms available on social media and his belief is that this is what is impacting the economy;
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I saw today that Pure Gold, the manufacturers of cooking oil said they have enough stocks and they are dispatching the cooking oil that is worth $2.71. Therefore, when it reached the end user, it is sold at $10. Now, I am an anti-corruption expert and I have to track it like this. If the manufacturers say they are manufacturing something for $2.71 and then the end users are selling to the public at $10, therefore, there are some business people who are corrupt, unscrupulous, and unpatriotic and are busy engaging on price fixing. Why do they do that price fixing? That is the next question that I will be asking myself. It is something that is purported to counter correct governance and create ungovernable systems through social medias whereby we need to bring a very strong Cyber Crime Bill in this Parliament to correct such matters. People are reacting on rumour mongering which is circulating on the media and there are some people who are escalating the prices.
This statement holds some truths in it. Social media has played its part in exploiting the speculative nature of markets. News spreads faster than ever and because this is something the government has also has to contend with whilst also fire fighting there has been multiple calls for them to regulate social media.
Pointing fingers at the wrong problem
I think it would be safe to say Zimbabwe’s problems are not as a result of social media and trying to control social media whilst not addressing the problems on the ground might not be as effective as government hopes. If the right problems are addressed I don’t think governments have anything to fear when it comes to social media.
Maybe this crisis is what will finally force the government to create a cyber-bill. The problem with that, however, is that a bill that results from the current situation will be one inspired by lashing out and not necessarily having sound principles to actually implement a well thought out set of regulation.