Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill Second Reading Extract from the Senate Hansard:
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you, Mr President. Firstly, allow me to thank the Minister for bringing this Bill to this august House. The only unfortunate thing is that the Bill was long overdue. The importance of the Bill which has been brought to the House by the Hon. Minister cannot be overemphasised. As the Hon. Minister has said, Zimbabwe needs to be part of the international world and the international family of nations.
Right now, the world is a global village and crime has evolved to such an extent that the laws which were in place cannot cater for the advanced nature of the crime that we are facing. I think we are living in the digital world and everything is being transacted through e-commerce. As such, it calls for laws that will actually regulate the behaviour of the users of that platform but more importantly, for laws that will protect the public who are the consumers from abuse and criminal tendencies which may actually prejudice the consumers.
Mr President, I hope the Bill will be broader enough to be able to address the challenges which are being faced by the global business and Zimbabwe in particular. I hope also the Bill will be broader enough to protect the public from abusers of the so-called technology, social media to be included. I think the Bill comes at a very important time Mr President, during this time of COVID. We have seen how abuse of the ICT internet can actually be detrimental to society. Allow me to just zoom on what is obtaining on the ground at the moment. I am sure we are all aware and we have come across abuse of social media by people talking and criticising vaccination. Unfortunately, I would call these people who are peddling all these falsehoods on social media to be criminals and against the nation, or allow me to say they are enemies of the State. We were at pains to try to rein this errant behaviour. I hope Hon. Senators will contribute and make sure that the Bill is scrutinised so that it is tight enough to control such things and provide penalties that will make it impossible for people to peddle information without a basis that will affect the livelihoods and the generality of the people.
Right now, we have lost a lot of lives from COVID and we have to appreciate how a common man in the street believes in what transpires or what is circulated on WhatsApp. So, it goes without saying that we, therefore, need to ensure that whatever is posted on these so-called unregulated broad media should be safe to the generality of the people so that we do not end up with a situation which we are having now in Zimbabwe, like the example which I have just given of the vaccines.
We have spent so much buying vaccines. People are dying and the fiscus is drained through so many admissions but we find people peddling lies and discouraging people from being vaccinated. That is tantamount to murder. So I hope, believe and trust that this important Bill that has been brought by the Hon. Minister will be tight enough to protect the generality of the people. I thank you.