Cyber Bill sail through Senate Committee Stage without debate

Cyber Bill sail through Senate Committee Stage without debate
Cyber Bill sail through Senate Committee Stage without debate

Cyber Bill sail through Senate Committee Stage without debate

Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill has sailed through the Committee Stage in the Senate without debate.

The Bill is seeking among other things to regulate the use of the internet and social media in Zimbabwe.

However, some legal watchers are suspecting that the Bill might be coming to gag free speech ahead of 2023 election.

The government is reportedly not happy with the freedom that citizens are enjoying on the internet and social media.

Social media has become the space where disgruntled Zimbabweans have been registering their displeasure at the situation.

Opposition parties that have been denied access to public media have also enjoyed acres of space on social media.

Political parties such as the Nelson Chamisa led MDC Alliance benefit immensely from social media during the 2018 general elections, as most of their campaign rallies were being streamed live on Facebook and Youtube.

However, it was thought that opposition legislators would mount a fierce fight against the Bill, but surprisingly they did not.

Although the Senate has about 80 legislators, only nine of them participated in the Second Reading stage of the Bill.

All hope was now on the Committee Stage where the Bill was to be tackled on clause by clause. However, there was no objection to all the 38 clauses and the Bill was agreed to without amendments.

Legislators have no capacity to debate laws

Failure to effectively debate on motions and Bills has exposed the lack of capacity among the legislators in Zimbabwe.

For one to be a legislator in Zimbabwe, they only need to have reached the age of 21 and are registered and there is no qualification required.

The Bill is now set to be sent to President Emmerson Mnangagwa for assentation so that it becomes a law.

Should it be signed into law, the Bill adds to the shrinking of civic space in Zimbabwe and will be complemented by the Patriotic Bill, NGOs Bill and Amendment to the Legal Practitioners Act which is also coming.

Cyber Bill sail through Senate Committee Stage without debate

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