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Interception of Communications Bill - Index of articles
to crack down on internet use
June 10, 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe
plans to outlaw the dissemination through the internet of information
and material it deems offensive, President Robert Mugabe said during
a ceremony to mark the opening of Parliament boycotted by the opposition
his government, which enjoys an absolute parliamentary majority,
shall also table before the House legislation to curtail corruption
and white collar crime such as money laundering and illegal electronic
transfer of money outside Zimbabwe.
old leader, for long accused of standing by while military generals
and cronies in his ruling ZANU PF party loot national wealth, said:
"In order to deal with the emergence of more sophisticated
forms of corruption and crimes such as electronic money laundering,
(fraudulent) electronic transfer of funds, dissemination of offensive
materials and even cyber-terrorism, the necessary
legislation will be tabled before the House during this Session."
is the first time ever the government has publicly confirmed it
wants to monitor and control the use of the internet in Zimbabwe.
the story last year that Harare had sought help and equipment from
China to bug into people's emails and monitor exchange of information
between both private and public citizens.
After the government
closed down newspapers and severely clamped down on all alternative
voices, Zimbabweans have had to resort to the internet to communicate
and share ideas on subjects considered politically sensitive.
on the internet, was specifically set up to provide a free platform
for the free exchange and sharing of ideas and information on and
about Zimbabwe following the clampdown on newspapers.
journalists have also set up several radio stations outside the
country to beam broadcasts into the country.
technology experts say neither Harare nor its Beijing friends have
the know-how to block or monitor every internet-based communication.
But ZimOnline understands the new legislation promised by Mugabe
will require internet service providers and owners of internet shops
to physically monitor people using their services and report those
communicating information deemed offensive.
Parliament is also expected to debate and pass several key legislation
including amending the constitution to bring the Senate abolished
more than 10 years ago.
The House will
also enact new laws liquidating the rights of private land owners
by making all farmland, except conservancies, state property.
Organisations (NGOs) Bill, passed by the Fifth Parliament but
which Mugabe refused to sign, shall also be brought before the House.
The NGO Bill
proposes banning all civic bodies from voter education while those
focusing on governance issues will be barred from receiving foreign
funding. Civic society experts have warned that up to 90 percent
of NGOs could close down if the law is enacted.
ZANU PF won
78 of the 120 contested parliamentary seats. The MDC won 41 while
former government propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo, who stood as
an independent, won one seat. Mugabe is constitutionally empowered
to appoint 12 unelected people to Parliament and also appoint eight
governors who also seat in the House and have voting rights.
Another 10 seats
are reserved for traditional chiefs. The chiefs have since independence
in 1980 always voted with the government and are not expected to
change their stance. This leaves Mugabe and ZANU PF able to marshal
a total 108 votes, which is more than two thirds of the 150-member
House and enough for the government to pass any legislation including
amending the constitution.
Minister Patrick Chinamasa accused the MDC of immaturity after the
opposition party boycotted the opening of Parliament in support
of a two-day mass job stayaway called by a coalition comprising
the party, labour unions and other civic groups.
says it called the stayaway, which kicked off on a low note yesterday,
to protest against a government blitz against informal traders and
shanty dwellers that has left thousands of families without income
The group bringing
together the MDC, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National
Constitutional Assembly civic alliance says the job stayaway that
ends today was also to register Zimbabweans' anger at deepening
economic hardships. - ZimOnline
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