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Alba Iulia
Saturday, April 3, 2021

New Cyber law goes to Court

General News New Cyber law goes to Court

Five Civil Society Organisations have petitioned the High Court for a declaration that various provisions of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act be declared unconstitutional and struck off the statute books.

The five organisations include Alliance for Community Action, Bloggers of Zambia, Chapter One Foundation, GEARS Initiative Zambia and Peoples’ Action for Accountability and Good Governance in Zambia.

Chapter One Foundation Executive Director Linda Kasonde said on behalf of the CSOs that the passing of the Cyber Security and Crimes Act is the culmination of veiled attempts by state actors and government officials to intimidate and even prosecute members of the public who air their opinions on online platforms.

Ms Kasonde says while it is imperative to ensure the safety of the public against cyber security threats, it must always be balanced with the right to freedom of expression and the need to maintain the right to privacy.

Ms Kasonde has maintained that these provisions are unjustifiable in a democratic state and unconstitutional but hopes that the court will give generous interpretation to the rights enshrined in the Constitution which apply without limitation in the cyber space.

Below is the full statement

JOINT CSO PRESS STATEMENT DATED 1ST APRIL 2021 ON THE CYBER SECURITY AND CYBER CRIMES ACT NO 2 OF 2021

On the 23rd March 2021 the President of the Republic of Zambia assented into law the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act No 2 of 2021.

The passing of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act is the culmination of several thinly veiled attempts by state actors and government officials to intimidate and even prosecute members of the public who air their opinions on online platforms.

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, have petitioned the High Court for a declaration that various provisions of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act be declared unconstitutional and struck off the statute books.

Prior to its being passed into law we, and many others, bemoaned the lack of engagement and/or consultation of NGOs, CSOs and other stakeholders in the drafting processes. We further attempted to engage the legislature to highlight the fact that, while it is imperative to ensure the safety of the public at large against cyber security threats, this must invariably be balanced with the right to freedom of expression and the need to maintain the right to privacy enjoyed by all members of the public.

Despite several statements highlighting specific provisions of the Bill which threatened to unjustifiably limit constitutionally guaranteed rights, these provisions have been maintained and are now law. While the Act contains progressive provisions particularly with regard to the cyber security of children, there are several provisions that have the potential to facilitate and even enhance the wanton surveillance and censorship of members of public through interception of communications. These provisions are unjustifiable in a democratic state and unconstitutional.

In a shrinking civic space, social media platforms and other online media present alternative platforms for members of the public to air their views on matters of public interest and gather virtually to share such views without the inhibitions of the much-abused Public Order Act. This platform has become even more important as the country and the world at large grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic and the regulations it necessitated. The Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act threatens this use of the cyber space.

It is our hope that the court will give generous interpretation to the rights enshrined in the Constitution which we believe apply without limitation in the cyber space.

Linda Kasonde
Executive Director, Chapter One Foundation

Signed for and on behalf of the following CSOs:

Alliance for Community Action
Bloggers of Zambia
Chapter One Foundation
GEARS Initiative Zambia
Peoples’ Action for Accountability and Good Governance in Zambia

40 COMMENTS

  1. As usual, this foreign sponsored NGO is forgetting that even their pay masters have similar laws in their countries.

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  2. While this effort is commendable, I hope Linda Kasonde has a devil’s advocate within her legal team to pick holes in her groups’ argument before the Solicitor General and his team does. In that way, she will know how to rebutt them so that the state ends with the wooden spoon in the High Court.

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  3. Way to go Kasonde, we need more people like you to counter act against unconstitutional stuff such as this irrelevant Cuber bill now law.

    My Zambian people…. please please bane OPEN YOUR EYES and vote wisely. UBWATO BABUNDA!!!

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  4. Misinformation needs to be fought using cyberspace laws. Fake news is toxic. Accordingly, WHO warned of “a massive ‘infodemic,’ an overabundance of information—some accurate and some not—that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” Freedom of expression without delimitation for one man could easily limit freedom of expression for other people. Some form of verification is necessary to prove that a cybercrime was perpetrated by cybercriminals. What counts is authorized verification of navigation. Intrusion into private life does not count for prosecutors because it is illegal. Comfort zone for criminals is impunity. Take time to remove CCTV. Take time to remove authorized recording. Take time to beneficiate cyberspace.

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  5. When a country is governed by thugs, they make laws to gag the citizens, because that’s what threatens their existence but leaving known criminals having field days in daylight. Where are the gassers? Who possess to be a security risk a gasser or blogger? Everyone knows within PF who the gassers are. The don’t even need to waste resources to arrest them. They would rather waste resources to formulate laws to install fear and send to jail innocent citizens. The laws they have formulated have nothing to do with cyber security but more to do with intimidating the opposition and elections rigging. Watch them and don’t give them space to Rigg with or without cyber security laws.

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  6. This is good. Go for the provisions that are unconstitutional than to trash the entire document. UPND should have done the same by attacking the perceived bad provisions in Bill 10 instead of trashing the entire document. who knows we could have had the much sought after constitution by now.

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  7. Tikki is right, PF can’t win a honest and fair election. But it WON’T be a fair election, PF has already won by buying votes, shutting up non state owned press channels and killing off the opposition!

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  8. Dear Kasonde, you trained in the UK, but remember that the Investigatory Powers Act (aka snoopers charter) was taken to court and the courts ruled in its favour. This precedence means that your case will fall again.

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  9. The first comment by henry kanyanta is spot on. These clowns are funded by their whlte masters and baboons in upnd. Whilst the white masters fund this rubbish, they themselves have these laws in their country. The f00lish cso do not see that the whlte man has a lot to gain from Africa not having secure and effective laws such as these.
    Also who is bloggers association? No one represents me as a blogger. Those are just frustrated upnd ugly baboons with nothing better to do. In fact I have more influence in terms of blogging than that entire imaginary association

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  10. The first comment by henry is spot on. These clowns are funded by their whlte masters and baboons in upnd. Whilst the white masters fund this rubbish, they themselves have these laws in their country. The f00lish cso do not see that the whlte man has a lot to gain from Africa not having secure and effective laws such as these.

  11. The beauty of democracy. We are a democracy whatever that means. The parliament passed the bill and was signed into law. The lawyers and others fill it is not right they send it to concourt. Well let us wait and see.

  12. It is fine. Remember just because a law has been enacted does not mean it is constitutional. Do not give your rights away on a silver platter people. Well done Linda and company. Let them win or lose at court.

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  13. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO RADIO PHOENIX RECEPTION – LET THE PEOPLE TALK? IS IT BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT THE CALLERS ARE SAYING, YOU HAVE …

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  14. The Snoopers charter in Uk was taken to court and the case failed. The problem with Lungu’s laws is that they mix the good and the bad. This is a very bad way of legislating. It is like mixing poison with sugar to feed a starving man.

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  15. Dr. Makasa Kasonde (Private Citizen) you are back again ill-informed as usual so where is your national airline you were championing after spending $30 million?

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  16. Is a national airline really a priority given that we’re up to our mouth in debt? Unfortunately in Zambia even just asking questions gets u labelled a UPND supporter. Felix Mutati doesn’t support this investment into a new airline. But they won’t direct any criticism at him because they know he’s negotiable.

  17. Dr Makasa Kasonde, you write long nonsensical comments that have nothing to do with the issues at hand, it appears with your PhD you simply go online, copy some words and then write your comment without adding your own personal view.
    @KCI, that is exactly what separation of powers is! The judiciary has the power to overule the legislature and executive, that is what keeping each other in check means.
    Interesting to note that Kasonde has opted for the High Court this time as opposed to the Concourt, learning from Sishuwa I see.

  18. This was expected from the UPND surrogates. These foreign funded CSOs have never stood by the country and people. They have always opposed everything that is beneficial for common people of this country. Now they are dancing to the tunes of Hakainde Hichilema. They are anti Zambian to the core.

  19. These self proclaimed social reformists need to meet the victims of online fraud and cyber bullying. They need to talk to the women and girls who are abused and molested on social media. I am sure they haven’t done anything of this. These armchair activists are only interested in cheap publicity and money.

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  20. Only Parliament can enact and repeal, (whether by implication or directly) statutes!!!!. Linda, you must read up your Constitional and Admistrative Law!!!

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  21. Isn’t it irony that a woman is opposing the law that is meant to protect women! Linda Kasonde has proved it once again that she is more concerned about the money she gets than what happens to vulnerable women and children on social media.

    Faith lemba

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  22. Can this Linda Kasonde give even one example when anyone criticising the government was arrested, prosecuted or jailed? On the contrary, self proclaimed media houses who are surviving on illicit money are criticising the government and the President every day. Has she seen, how derogatory language is used for the President of Zambia? Is she ok with that?

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  23. Have you read the Law? Have you really understood it? Or, just commenting because some insane people are speaking against the law? Do you know why the Law was enacted? It was to protect women, girls, and children from being exploited on social media. The law is to protect millions of unsuspecting people from being cheated and duped. The Law nowhere provides for curtailment of any right of citizens.

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  24. Today, social media has become hub of spreading fake news. Few media houses are busy misleading people and criticising government. Zambians lose millions of Kwacha in online scams. Thousands of women face cyber bullying and molestation at the hands of people like Chellah Tukuta. Ms Linda Kasonde, are you ok with these criminals having free run?

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  25. The CSOs are crossing their limits. It is evident that his step is politically motivated and it is no secrete, for whom they are working. This is nothing but the last ditch attempt of HH and his gang to somehow salvage sinking UPND.

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  26. Can Linda Kasonde and her accomplices tell the country which provisions are unconstitutional and why? Can she explain? I challenge her for public debate on this law. Are you ready Ms Kasonde?

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  27. This entire petition is flawed and politically motivated. It will not stand in the court. These CSOs have once again proved that they work against the interests of people and country.

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  28. If this was the case, you and those like you who criticise the government, would have been behind the bars. The fact that you are still free to say whatever you want, proves that people of Zambia enjoy uninterrupted freedom of speech.

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  29. Mwe bena Zambia stop being impulsive without thinking when reacting, otherwise you are just exposing how st.u.pid you are.
    @Henry kanyanta and KZ, give us examples of the so-called “masters” countries that have similar laws, and where Cyber Laws have raised similar debates that you are having in Zambia? Be aware that although the countries you call “masters” might have similar Cyber laws, “similarity” is NOT the “same”, the devil is in the details. It’s some of those details that raise debates in Zambia and NOT so in other western countries.
    You are forgetting about clampdown on media houses that happened not long ago, you are forgetting about concerns that the police is controlled by PF, and Police not independent, you are forgetting about some statements that have been issued…

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  30. you are forgetting about some statements that have been issued by some officials regarding how they will use the Cyber law, the list goes on…. It’s these small things that make the Zambian Cyber Law different, hence the rebuke.

  31. These are civil matters. Anyone can apply to join and argue against Linda Kasonde and her group of NGOs. It’s interesting to note that the same people speaking in favour of the law are right here insulting Linda Kasonde and others. So it seems the law does not protect Linda Kasonde.

  32. Mama Kasonde continue voicing for voiceless like me and many other people, for FP has reduced the platform for voicing out. And the remaining can’t canter for all of us, am behind u.

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