Vusumuzi Dube, Sunday News Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe has justified his appointment of Cde Patrick Chinamasa as the Minister of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation saying there was a need for the country to weed out elements who would want to abuse the Internet.
President Mugabe was speaking at the official opening of the Nkulumane Community Information Centre in Bulawayo yesterday.
The Nkulumane Community Information Centre is part of a project funded by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe and the parastatal is targeting to construct information centres in all the country’s constituencies.
To date more than 80 centres have been constructed at a cost of more than $900 000. President Mugabe said the new ministry was a step in the right direction as the Government would now be able to come with systems to help the country defend itself from cyber crime, noting that the Internet could be used by the country’s detractors to spread disharmony in the nation.
“We have set up the Cyber Security Ministry to build our own cyber systems to defend ourselves from cyber crime. We are aware that there are some people who use the Internet to fight us and implement what they say is regime change. This is not a first, actually some nations are at an advanced stage in controlling this social media, which is why we thought that Minister Chinamasa as a lawyer can help in controlling our cyber space.
“Truth is we can use these computers for many things that promote development. But some are using these computers to cause disharmony, demonstrating and destroying the infrastructure. There are a number of countries which went this route all because of abuse of the cyber space. We don’t want to emulate this because what solution does it present instead of destroying the nation,” said President Mugabe.
The President said it was important that after commissioning these information centres, there was a need to teach the communities on how to use the computers to develop themselves. President Mugabe had earlier on interjected when Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Cde Supa Mandiwanzira had said as from next year they would be charging a nominal fee to individuals wanting to be trained in computers, saying the lessons should be for free.
“Let us teach the communities to use these computers but please let us be disciplined, let us not view pornography; this is not why we are setting up these computers. The beauty of this new technology is that it keeps us in contact. Teachers and students can now get all the solutions they want via ICT.
We want people to know that we are introducing these new gadgets but we want them also to know how to use them. These gadgets open their minds and introduce them to the world out there and also information out there,” said the President.
He said it was essential to note that ICT now has a firm place within society hence the need to invest in the sector. President Mugabe also took the occasion to donate 10 computers each to 12 schools in the province. The schools that benefited are Hamilton High (Bulawayo Central), Mncumbatha Secondary (Imbizo), Ngwenyama Primary (Imbizo), Phumula South Secondary (Khami), Mtshede Primary (Mzilikazi), Induba Primary (Mzilikazi), Inyanda High (Khami), St Peter’s High (Khami), Baines Primary (Reigate), Lobhengula Primary (Reigate), Trenance Primary (Reigate) and Cowdray Primary School (Reigate).
Speaking at the same event, ICT Minister, Cde Mandiwanzira revealed that his ministry has embarked on a training facility at all the information centres they had set up to empower the people within these areas and ensure that they use the facilities to develop their areas.
He said the aim was to ensure all constituencies have information centres in all the country’s constituencies by year end.
President Mugabe was accompanied to the launch by the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe, Vice-Presidents Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet Ministers and senior Government officials.