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Legislative Developments in Zimbabwe

In May 2006, it was widely reported in the media that the Zimbabwean parliament intended to come up with legislation to deal with cyber crime. This legislation was to be contained in the National ICT Policy. After a nine year delay, the draft Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill appears ready. One of the more controversial clauses allows the government to conduct surveillance of citizens through forensic tools placed on electronic communication devices.

Furthermore, the parliament of Zimbabwe (currently in session at the time of writing) is said to be about to propose the Electronic Transaction and Electronic Commerce Bill. The ostensible aim of this legislation is to set a basis for government policy in the virtual environment by regulating, among other things: electronic transactions, consumer protection and online marketing. With a large informal sector that is increasingly embracing mobile transactions, this Bill may be a pathway to integrate workers who do not typically use traditional financial institutes into the formal banking system.

It remains to be seen whether these Bills, in their current forms, will be passed and what their effect will be on content creators and consumers in the online environment.

For more information, please contact Sipho Mudau.

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