Zambian government says has acquired tools to block Facebook

Zambian government says has acquired tools to block Facebook

Lungu with Huawei Senior Vice President Dafeng Li in April 2015

Lungu with Huawei Senior Vice President Dafeng Li in April 2015

The Zambian government has for the first time admitted that it has acquired hardware and soft to block certain websites in Zambia. From 2012, the Zambian government has been blocking news websites critical of government but has been failing to block Facebook.

But now the PF government has announced that it has acquired the relevant technology to block even Facebook. In 2012, the PF government blocked the Zambian Watchdog, Zambia Reports and Barotse Post. The government is still tampering with Zambian Watchdog and Barotse Post but have removed interference software from Zambia Reports after the owners of that Website sold their independence to State House. It is now a PF website.

When president Edgar Lungu visited China last month, the Watchdog reported that part of his mission was to ask and pay Huawei to find ways of completely blocking the Zambian Watchdog especially its Facebook page which has more than 305 000 followers. It is the most popular local site in Zambia.

On Thursday when president Edgar Lungu went to open some shops on the Copperbelt said ‘this culture of sitting and posting stories on Facebook the whole day must come to an end.” Despite the attempt to hide his true intentions, Lungu’ statement was quite revealing that his hatred was for  news ‘stories’ on Face book.

The same evening, Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska announced that his office was working on policies and systems that to block ‘certain social media websites’ being accessed in government offices during working hours.

 Msiska said Cabinet Office was working on a programme that will bar the use of certain social media sites.
“The hardware and software are already in place, and very soon, we will be filtering certain websites in Government offices. What the President said concerning social websites is very true,” Msiska said.
He said his office is working on e-governance and Zamtel, together with the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications is already rolling it out.
President Lungu has expressed concern that some civil servants waste time on social media such as Facebook.
And Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga his ministry will issue a directive to Zambia Information and Technology Authority to check sites that are abused and block them so that only those that are appropriate during work hours can be accessed.

 

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