By Nason Msoni
What Zambia desperately needs is a poverty Crack Squad and not an eavesdropping Cyber crack squad meant only to snoop and spy on Zambians exercising their fundamental freedoms of expression.
It is clearly deceitful and a blue lie for government to claim that it has specifically been formed to deal with the growing trend in cyberspace crimes.
Government has formed a special branch called the Special Joint Cybercrime Crack Squad (SJCCS).
Clearly this creation is inimical to public good and on the fundamental enjoyment of freedoms enshrined in the constitution.
Clearly government intentions with the creation of this evil squad is in breach of the fundamental freedoms as guaranteed by the Republican constitution.
Delegated legislation cannot override the constitution to create monsters out to haunt citizens from enjoying their rights and freedoms.
We should all be weary and suspicious of such an orthodox creation and which we think is not a priority amongst so many competing needs.
This thing will turnout into a Cyber monster consuming online publications and blocking news websites.
There is also an obvious danger that the architects of this thing are looking ahead to the 2021 elections to blackout the internet like in the neighbouring countries where the elections were stolen and failed the true winners.
It would be a dangerous underestimation to buy into what the Transport and Communications Minister, Engineer Brian Mushimba, is asserting that the exponential growth in the information and communication technology sector has necessitated the creation of such a squad.
Arguably, the only viable squads we need are those that work towards fighting and minimising poverty and suffering amongst our people.
Mr Mushimba’s assertion that the wider and increased availability of the digital platforms such as the internet and mobile technology has led to some individuals using ICTs to propagate illegal vices. This statement alone is a clear telltale sign that the regime is now intent on muzzling the press and the free flow of information between citizens.
He further asserted that in order to mitigate against abusive and illegal use of digital platforms and vulnerabilities amongst and against Zambian citizens, the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Transport and Communications has spearheaded the formation of a Special Joint Cybercrime Crack Squad” he stated.
The Minister also indicated that the SJCCS is an effort of collaboration amongst security agencies and other stakeholder groups.
“The SJCCS has been established with the understanding that the ability to reduce risks brought about by the digital revolution requires the establishment of effective and efficient real-time and proactive strategies. Such strategies can be developed and implemented through enhanced and improved collaboration between key cross-sectoral stakeholders” he believes.
Mushimba is hoping that the adoptation of this multi-disciplinary collaborative approach reinforces Governments commitment to introducing measures and policies that will promote a safe, secure, resilient, reliable and inclusive ICT sector for increased and continued Investment and Development in Zambia.
“The Special Joint Cybercrime Crack Squad (SJCCS) will play a lead role in bringing some level of sanity amongst digital platform users in the country” he anticipates.
He added that the Crack Squad will support the identification of investigative overlaps and eliminate duplicity of resources whilst effecting new investigative approaches to bring about rapid resolution of cybercrime cases and fast-track prosecution of the offenders. This team will help ensure that public digital platforms including social media are not used as vehicles for illegal and harmful activities.
Mushimba reiterated that the Ministry remains committed to promoting the responsible and productive use of digital platforms further condemning all forms of cybercrime and the harmful use of social media.