HomeLocal NewsConsult people on Cyber Security Bill, Misa urges Parly

Consult people on Cyber Security Bill, Misa urges Parly



THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe has urged Parliament to recall the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill in order to take it back to the public to air their views on the changes to be effected on the law before it is passed.

The Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill was gazetted in May 2020 and subjected to public hearings in July 2020. Last Wednesday, it was passed by the Senate without debate after it sailed through in the National Assembly, where opposition MPs criticised it for curtailing human rights.

However, the Bill was recommitted to Senate on Thursday last week after it was realised that it had errors.

If passed, the law aims to provide some general data protection rules and clarify privacy rights within Zimbabwe.

In a petition dated August 4, 2021 to the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, Misa Zimbabwe chairperson Golden Maunganidze said Parliament should further consult the people before the Bill was signed into law.

Maunganidze said recommittal of the Bill was a clear indication that it had significant errors that needed substantive amendments.

“In light of the above, we, the undersigned organisations, hereby petition Parliament and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology to subject the amended Bill to public hearings,” the Misa petition read.

“Passing this Bill into law, in its amended form without public consultation on the various changes is tantamount to violating the constitutional rights of citizens to participate and influence the law-making process.”

Misa said the errors on the Bill were acknowledged in Senate, which means an extensive review and further input from the public was needed.

Maunganidze said cybersecurity, data protection and data privacy issues affected every citizen, hence the need for a multi-stakeholder approach in its framing.

He appealed to Parliament to subject the Bill to further scrutiny in the spirit of upholding democracy.

Misa said the Bill was a key piece of legislation as it impacts the social, political and the economic landscape of Zimbabwe, while a strong data and cybersecurity framework was critical for enjoyment of human rights.

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