Govt to consider social media regulation

Austin Nyathi Gwanda correspondent
THE Government may be forced to regulate the social media to curb abuse that resulted in pockets of vandalism recently, a senior government official has said. Addressing Zanu-PF Provincial Coordinating Committee on Saturday, the Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Cde Thokozile Mathuthu, said people who are bent on abusing social media platforms for the purposes of inciting Zimbabweans into revolting against the government might force government to regulate social media

“Among us here, there are people who have joined the WhatsApp chat groups to demonise the Zanu-PF party and Government. They post false messages and images to agitate citizens.”

“This was used to coordinate the civil servants’ strike. We are saying stop it! We will be left with no choice but to regulate the social media platforms as a lot of misinformation is peddled to incite peace loving citizens to go on strike and destroy property,” said Deputy Minister Mathuthu.

Addressing the same gathering, Zanu-PF Secretary for External Relations Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the Statutory Instrument number 64 of 2016 is meant to protect local industries and local jobs.

“We were sent by the President, Cde RG Mugabe to clarify the S.I number 64 of 2016.

“The Instrument seeks to protect local jobs and industries. If you go and buy groceries for your domestic use for $200 per calendar month in smaller quantities, it’s fine but if you go and buy bulk goods to fill your supermarket, then you need a special licence to do that,” said Cde Mumbengegwi.

“If you order goods in bulk from outside Zimbabwe, then you are exporting jobs as local industries will be forced to close. No country can survive on imports alone.” Cde Mumbengegwi said the President instructed that all dams should be used for irrigation to ensure food security in the country.

“The President said all dams should be used for irrigation-driven agricultural activities to ensure no one starves. Last week Harare and Bulawayo witnessed sporadic disturbances by demonstrators that were blockading roads and burning old tyres after being mobilised by shadowy elements through social media.

The incidents appeared coordinated as they began with protests at Beitbridge border post over the import restrictions recently introduced by the government. Authorities have pointed to a third force, with the Cross Border Traders’ Association distancing itself from the skirmishes that saw vehicles and a Zimra warehouse being burnt.

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