Opinion

Chipenzi Questions Cyber Laws; Warns They’re A Threat To Democracy

Electoral expert McDonald Chipenzi says cyber laws being pushed by the government were a danger to the country’s democracy.

Chipenzi is advocating for an open space and free media.

“The proposed cyber laws which are crafted in the darkroom triggers a “battle for democracy” because they aim at shrinking the only existing free space-the internet-which has been offering numerously online spaces for citizens to enjoy their freedoms and rights of association, assembly and expression,” he says.

BELOW IS CHIPENZI’S WRITE UP

CYBER LAWS ARE A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY AND MUST BE HALTED

Government has been vehemently pushing for the introduction of the cyber laws whose Bills are yet to be presented in the National Assembly in June according to the Minister responsible of communication.

The contents of these Bills, such as Cyber Crime Bill, have been kept under “key and lock” in the Ministry of Communication, which is signal of closed democratic system and sinister motive behind the introduction of these Bill or laws.

Any law making done in good faith entails the involvement of citizens as a paramount ingredient to ensure openness and inclusiveness of the process. Law making should not be an exclusive exercise right of the executive and its surrogates.

Law makers must be continuously engaged in pursuit of legitimate legal outcomes rather than legal text. The legitimacy of any law includes “legal legitimacy” derived through conformity to relevant legal rules, principles and norms, “political legitimacy” reflected in the national ownership of the law while lastly but not the least “moral legitimacy” which is an embodiment of a relationship between the law and the shared values that underlie the moral basis of the state and society.

Therefore, the proposed cyber laws which are crafted in the darkroom triggers a “battle for democracy” because they aim at shrinking the only existing free space-the internet-which has been offering numerously online spaces for citizens to enjoy their freedoms and rights of association, assembly and expression.

We all know that currently, the above freedoms have been shrunk by existing old colonial laws such as the Public Order Act (1955), the Penal Code (1930) and now new ones like NGOs Act (2009), Anti-terrorism Act (2007), et al which limit the physical citizens’ spaces to enjoy their rights and freedoms such as association, assembly and expression necessary ingredient in a democracy.

This is why more and more citizens have resorted to use of internet tools to enjoy their right to access daily information and media rights and the rights and freedoms associated with democracy because there still exist free spaces in the cyber space.

Now the powerful and the government feel the internet has become a big threat to them and want to regulate and shrink this space using cyber laws. This automatically entails regulating freedoms of association, assembly and expression. Mind you millions of Zambians use the internet to access information and enjoy media rights, freedom of associations, assembly and expression which are impossible to be enjoyed using the physical spaces due to draconian and maladministration of laws.

Whatsapp groups, for instance, have provided ideal platforms for citizens to enjoy their freedoms to assembly, association and expression. Every evening these platforms become hyper active with group members sharing information and expressing themselves on various topics, an exercise impossible using physical space where police permits are required.

Political parties, for instance, now use live facebook streaming to reach out to their audiences which they could not do using traditional media since it does not accommodate them. Where will they go once this space is closed or restricted by cyber laws?

Therefore, fellow citizens, political parties, church, academician, students, let us all unite and HALT the introduction of these draconian cyber laws till we see and appreciate their contents.

Allowing them to pass without setting your eyes on them may be contributing to the death of democracy in Zambia as these laws are likely to restrict your use of internet tools such as whats app, instagram, twitters and mobile products such as SMS et al necessary ingredients for your effective participation in national affairs.

Aluta Continua. #Openspacezm

12 Comments

  1. shu shu shu

    Macdonald Chipenzi is not an electoral expert but an expert UPND cadre who was fired by Fred Mmembe for spying on the post newspaper

  2. FGM

    Independence was fought and won to liberate Zambians from slavery, oppressive laws and poverty . Law makers should always use that yardstick. Oppressive bills should never see the light of the day in the independent Zambia.

    • Levi

      The problem that we have in zambia is that there is a group of people who have taken the zambian citizenry for granted that they will never react to the abuse they have subjected them to for sometime to date.God is might and who is that fool who has not read history of the most ruthless of our times e.g.Saddam Hussein and others such as Gadaffi . Please let them take time to reflect and ponder.

  3. Joseph David

    Mcdonald his right, those who are against his idea, their pfool cadres.

  4. Kabby

    Every country has cyber laws.

  5. Sunshine

    Kabby fuck u

  6. Jonathan Mutaware

    Jonathan is an alien from Malawi.

    He wants to emulate the brutal rule of Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

  7. Hamududu

    Every country has cyber laws. U can’t just let things run wild with some of the not so stable people we see online abusing others.

  8. Shaka

    The leadership want to be sweeping their dirty linen under the carpets to avoid detection.

  9. Mphatso Zulu

    Kachipenzi pelekaupa kutali.

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