There has been a lot of social media political dialogue with regards to the recent political events that led to the resignation of Robert Mugabe. With politicians now speaking against Mugabe, everyone joined in and those jokes people were afraid to say, the jokes that could get people to prison for insulting the president were shared on social media with reckless abandon.
Only a while ago, Martha O’Donovan was arrested for insulting the president in a tweet by mocking his heath, but now, his health was brought into question when it was decided to impeach him. But the Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation ministry was specifically designed to cut down on this, what will become of it now?
By Pearson Mbendera
With politicians and members of the public alike, uttering insults on Mugabe, the Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation ministry did nothing on that. As a matter of fact, Hon Chinamasa was among those publicly calling for Mugabe’s ouster.
To begin with, the political crisis has been good for social media usage in Zimbabwe.The emergence of social media has changed the way in which political communication and participation takes place in Zimbabwe.
On the backbone of high social media usage, NetOne introduced the One Fusion 3 to cater for those who cannot afford the One Fusion 5 but still wants the benefit of the popular and more affordable social media bundles in Zimbabwe.
Secondly, the ministry is very much relevant. No one needs to be told what to and what not to post on their own social media pages, but the cyber security threats that stem from social media use are there and they threaten even those who enjoy their freedom of expressions online.
There has been a lot of fake news that that have circulation on social media and they need to be stopped, and the best way possible. But to many, the Cyber security ministry was just about curbing their freedom of expression, but even that freedom of expression needs to be governed, lest it infringe on other people’s freedoms and rights.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have been fighting the problem of fake news, but in a country like Zimbabwe, it will be hard for them to fight that battle, hence the need for us to play our own part.
The Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation ministry may have been created out of the need to thwart the use of social media usage in Zimbabwe, but without it, a lot of things with regards to the political crisis we just had wouldn’t have made possible. It would have been hard to mobilise people to the march without social media, and that march was important in Robert Mugabe’s ouster.
There are a lot of changes and refocusing that is needed with regards to the cyber security emphasis in Zimbabwe. It should stop seeing social media as simply an enemy but embrace it and welcome its effecting politics and other issues concerning the generality of the Zimbabwean populace.
Whether the ministry will continue to exist or not is another story, but its functions remain important to Zimbabwe. Chinamasa may have been reduced from the Finance minister to the National WhatsApp Group Admin in the eyes of the people, but his job was/is very important.