HARARE – With Zimbabwe’s internet shutdown still partly in place, the information minister says that the government has crafted a new law to curb abuse of the internet.
Zimbabweans were left without internet for nearly 30 hours this week and the authorities have kept a block on social networking sites in an apparent bid to curb support for anti-government strikes.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa says a new cyber bill has been approved by cabinet and will soon be tabled in parliament for adoption.
Mutsvangwa said the proposed new law will ensure that the internet isn’t used to violate national security.
Her remarks, broadcast on state radio, will be seen as a new threat to internet freedoms.
This week the government cut access to the internet for two days, access to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube was still blocked by late Thursday night.
Some locals have managed to access the sites using virtual private networks.
Tensions are still high in Zimbabwe and there are calls being made for a second strike next week, though it’s difficult to verify who’s behind them.
BRITAIN SUMMONS ZIMBABWE’S AMBASSADOR
Meanwhile, Britain has summoned Zimbabwe’s ambassador in London to discuss unrest in the country this week.
Britain’s minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin said she has been following events in Zimbabwe with growing concern.
This was a strong statement from Baldwin, who was in Zimbabwe 11 months ago and it won’t go down well with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
She summoned Zimbabwe’s ambassador on Thursday over reports the security forces used live ammunition and excessive force to put down violent protests in Harare and other cities this week.
Rights groups say at least five people have been killed, while scores of others were injured.
Summoning an ambassador is a serious move and it will be a big blow to Mnangagwa’s efforts to re-engage with the former colonial power and get Zimbabwe re-admitted to the Commonwealth.