New Zimbabwe spying law illegal: Biti

via New Zimbabwe spying law illegal: Biti — Nehanda Radio By Tendai Biti OCTOBER 3, 2013

Wananchi, reality television is taking over the main stream. So nowadays every one who thinks he or she is something will have his or her show. I really wonder what value is obtained from knowing what one big fool is having for breakfast.

Here in our motherland ,and indeed across Africa ,the reality show called Big Brother has virtually taken over the sensibility of younger generations. Where they should be reading and studying you find them engrossed in this pointless infantile cacophony.

To be fair ,if the original idea was to bring back African youths from all backgrounds into a cultural melting pot and allow them to gel, there would have been nothing wrong with that.

To be fair the early shows in fact did that. But nowadays ,the show has gone flat. The kids are all the same ,the nasal conquered type who dress the same, speak the same and have one motive. They call them ‘salads ‘these ones. In our time they were called ‘nose brigades.’

All they do ,despite their largely middle class background is to viciously out shock the other, bring the beast from the other ,whilst the whole of Africa watches. So in end ,it is not survival of the fittest, but survival of the most outrageous ,the most cantankerous and oftentimes the most bohemian.

Well it is one’s constitutional right to be crazy. The problem however is that everyone watching then thinks its cool to be crazy. So the mad participants become heroes and stars immediately. So a self reproducing cycle of insanity is generated. It is called generational idiocy.

But the idea of creating a big brother society ,where big brother watches everyone and everything is one that has become fashionable particularly in the challenged world following 9 /11. Governments are setting up massive infrastructure to spy on citizens.

Virtually everything one does is under scrutiny , a microscopic scrutiny at that. The Zanu PF government in order not to be outdone has enacted SI 142 of 2013, to legitimize ,its own version of Big Brother.

A law that allows them to intercept communications ,but also see what one has been up to on the internet.

For starters ,SI 142 of 2013 , is introducing nothing new. Since time immemorial this regime has been spying on Wananchi, prying into their political ,business and personal lives ,in amazing fashion.

Mail, Internet and phones have long been the target. But more than that the business of tailing individuals, interfering with one s staff, even in some cases one s partner has been happening for many many years.

They have gone as far setting up persons and using all kinds of recording devices to trap people. Those notorious ,unforgivable tapes against Bishop Ncube are proof of what they are capable of.

Now with the help of Chinese resources and technology they can virtually listen to you twenty four hours. They can now record all your calls and produce transcript of the same. It is absurd ,totally absurd and I daresay unconstitutional .

The new Zimbabwean Constitution makes it very clear in the Bill of Rights Chapter that there shall be a right against interference with communication. This is an absolute right. Add to this is the Interception of Communications Act ,whose legality now needs to be tested against the new Constitution.

But in fact the above Act actually contains safeguards for the citizen. There are some judicial safeguards albeit limited given to the citizen. The new SI 142 of 2013, is potentially ultra vires its enabling Act but beyond reasonable doubt ultra vires the constitution .

It can not be said it is a law ,that is justifiable in an open democratic society as the new constitution requires. The world of spies has existed even before Joshua sent spies into Philistine territory to scan the ground. But Joshua’s story is significant.

He sent spies to spy an external enemy force. Not against his own Jewish people. The point is intelligence has always been an essential tool against external threats and the country’s national security interests.

Intelligence and national security are thus impersonal acts of sovereignty ,totally divorced from the political interests of the Government of the day.

Herein lies the challenge of the day.

The ruling class in Zimbabwe consists of an elite that controls both the party and government and more importantly the state military and security apparatus. As has been argued before there is no separation between the party and the state.

This party state conflation, in a situation where the military are virtually in total control has resulted in the creation of this complicated military ,pseudo civilian State ,that is so unbalanced and so unsustainable. Where the party and the state conflate ,the party interests become state interests.

In an age and era where power retention is the order of the day, any threat to the ruling party is considered a threat against the vital interests of the State.

Zanu is fully aware that the poll results of the 31 July are not a reflection of the people s will. The extent of the energy and scope of the rigging in its self was a response to self evident tide against the party itself.

A compliance with Newton s first law of motion, to every movement of energy there is an equal and opposite reaction. Zanu too are aware of the post election mood of anger and frustration. They are aware of the high threat against there existence.

But surely a threat against Zanu ,provided its legal and constitutional can not be a threat against the State. But that is not how those in power see it.

Given the relatively peaceful status quo of our region ,national threat against our country is zero.It is very very unlikely that there will be a war between Sadc member states in the next hundred years.

So in fact intelligence as it is traditionally know is no longer relevant. However given the State party conflation mentioned above all attention is focused internally. Who are you talking and why, who are you meeting and why?

And trust me Wananchi, it is not just democratic forces targeted. In the acerbic attrition wars of Zanu Pf succession attention is also focused on Zanu chiefs.

They too are afraid. Watch how they get so uncomfortable to be seen in MDC company. Watch how despite professional relationships or even personal or private relationships they hardly communicate using their mobiles.

It is a farcical form of Big Brother. It is reflective of breakdown and total collapse of the social contract.

It is reflective of a society run on fear and fear alone. Wananchi ,the only way to fight this is to look the beast in the eye. To raise your chin and simply say ,I am a Zimbabwean and I shall not be emasculated in my own country.

So for some of us, they may follow us and get into our phones but is pointless. What we say privately, is what we say publicly. Which is ,this regime must go. That there has to be a return to legitimacy. We even say it daily on Facebook. That is the way it should be.