By Anna Chibamu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is convinced Zimbabwe is under a well-coordinated cyber-attack by its detractors who are bent on effecting regime change in the country.
In a virtual meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Guo Shachuon Thursday, the President accused unnamed government enemies of using social media in an attempt to dethrone him by inciting citizens to stage anti-government protests.
Mnangagwa marked two years in office as president following his narrow win in the 2018 disputed elections.
The legitimacy issue continues to haunt the leader of the ruling Zanu PF and is seriously affecting the country’s economy, which continues on its downward spiral as investors treat Zimbabwe with caution due to its risky investment profile.
The human rights situation in Zimbabwe has also worsened with more opposition political leaders, activists, journalists, lawyers, and ordinary citizens facing arrest on trumped-up charges. Attempts by the opposition and civil society to hold demonstrations have been crushed by security service.
However, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was at peace and it was only sinister cyber users who wanted to destabilise the country through a regime change agenda.
“We are enjoying full peace in the country but the detractors have decided to impose cyber-attack to our country in pursuit of regime change,” said Mnangagwa.
“Currently, Zimbabwe is suffering from cyber-attacks. The social media attack is most unjustifiable, based upon fiction, non-facts, non-truth allegations, that there are gross human rights violations in the country. There is no evidence of such things happening.
“The arbitrary arrests, death, torture in the country, all that is being stated without evidence. We are enjoying peace and stability in the country but our detractors have decided to impose a cyber-war on our country in pursuit of a regime change agenda,” said Mnangagwa.
MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Job Sikhala, Jacob Ngarivhume, the president of Transform Zimbabwe and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono are currently in remand prison on charges of inciting public violence on social media platforms.
Chin’ono’s Twitter account, @daddyhope has since been disabled.
In response to Mnangagwa’s comments, the Chinese Ambassador concurred with him and accused a local newspaper of recently publishing an article accusing China of “interfering with Zimbabwe’s policies for its benefit at the expense of Zimbabwean people.”
To restrict the use of social media in Zimbabwe, the government is pushing in Parliament the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill.
The Bill criminalises the use of a computer or any information system to avail, broadcast, and distribute data while knowing the said data is false.
Early this year, the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Commander, Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo, addressing senior military officers, highlighted the military would soon start snooping into private communications between private citizens to “guard against subversion,” as social media has become a threat to national security.