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Zimbabwe announces new cyber security ministry

Zimbabwe announces new cyber security ministry

Zimbabwe has officially established a new Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation as President Robert Mugabe's government follows up on the controversial Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill, in the process of being finalised.

The Bill has been criticised by media freedom campaigners and other human rights lobby groups who say it is likely to curtail social media usage inside the country.

On Monday evening Mugabe announced a cabinet reshuffle which saw Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa reassigned to head up the newly established Cyber Security Ministry.

Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary to the President and cabinet in Zimbabwe said in a statement released Monday evening that Mugabe had "in terms of the constitution of Zimbabwe" made "re-assignments and appointments" among them as follows.

"Hon Patrick Chinamasa Minister of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation. Ignatius Chombo, Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Hon Walter Mzembi, Minister of Foreign Affairs..."

The Zimbabwe government is on record as saying social media platforms are being used to perpetuate hate speech, cyber bullying and economic sabotage.

During his recent visit to South Africa, Mugabe said that Zimbabwe will lean on allies to deal with the use of cyber channels for economic subversion.

Law expert Fadzai Mahere @advocatemagere tweeted on Tuesday morning that the appointment of Chinamasa to the new ministry is related to the development of a Cybercrimes law by Zimbabwe.

"The magic in appointing Chinamasa relates to the drafting of the "Cybercrime" Law," she said.

Until now, the Cyber and Computer Crimes Bill has been spearheaded by ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira.

Chinamasa has blamed social media for the country's price hikes, while Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti has criticised Chinamasa for failing the economy.

"In a mere 3 years Chinamasa plunged this economy into an unprecedented fiscal and financial mess. He redefined failure," tweeted Biti yesterday.

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