- The government of Zimbabwe might be few inches from censoring e-mails, telephone calls, the internet and postal mails. The Interception of Communications Bill, which has already got the approval of lawmakers, will legalise communication censorship in Zimbabwe.
The bill becomes a law when it exhausts approval from the senate and President Robert Mugabe. Many people believe senators will approve the bill without delay.
The Interception of Communications Bill now passes to the Senate, where it is expected to face little opposition.
The passed law did not go without opposition criticism. An opposition lawmaker, David Coltart, said the law is nothing short of fascist piece of legislation that is intended purposely to contain political dissent.
However, Zimbabwe's Communications Minister, Christopher Mushowe, hid behind the cloak of terrorism to defend the law. He said there is no difference between the new law and anti-terror laws in countries seen as the beacons of democracy - the United Kingdom, United States, South Africa, among others.
The new law makes it mandatory on internet service providers to install internet monitoring service equipment to intercept e-mails at their own expense.
It will also give the Communications Minister the power to issue warrants for interception.
Besides, senior officers of police, army and revenue service officials to ask the Minister to issue a warrant.
A lawmaker of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Nelson Chamisa, is among the arch-critics of the law, saying it will flout the "fundamental rights of our citizens and this house should refuse such frivolous and out rightly undemocratic laws."
"Most provisions are injurious and the law will be used as an arrow aimed against trade unions, civil society, media and political parties involved in genuine political engagements," Mr Chamisa said.
His comments have not carried any weight, for they did not stop the ruling ZANU-PF dominated parliament from passing the law without minding whether it would boomerang on them as well sooner or later.
The Zimbabwean government has been at the daggers end of the international community and human rights activists for frequently attacking dissent. The government has also been making headlines for physically maltreating politicians, activists and journalists.
Few months back, the world condemned Zimbabwean police for beating opposition activists, including the leader of MDC, for holding prayer meeting in the capital Harare.
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