Mugabe warns of new draconian security measures

22 Jul 2004

Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe used his official opening of parliament address to warn the country of his plans to introduce tougher state controls on the internet, telecoms services and non-government organisations (NGOs). Mugabe aims to implement a new Security of Communications Bill to control the country’s telecoms and internet markets under the pretext of ‘bolstering the security of the nation’. He also outlined plans to control NGOs which he claimed are interfering in politics saying that ‘we cannot allow them to be conduits or instruments of foreign interferences in our national affairs’. Critics of the new measures and Mugabe’s regime see the proposed legislation as part of the President’s broad campaign of repression. Brian Raftopoulos of the Crisis in Zimbabwe NGO coalition said the move was ‘just an attempt to extend the already existing controlling legislation that has an effect of further narrowing the democratic space, while strengthening political repression.