Exiled former Zimbabwean Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Jonathan Moyo has urged human rights defenders in Zimbabwe to use foreign phone numbers for WhatsApp as a strategy to save their own lives.
Moyo speaks at the backdrop of intense surveillance, arrest and torture of government critics by suspected state security agents.
Moyo tweeted suggesting that local mobile network providers – Econet Wireless and NetOne, “voluntarily handover customer details and addresses” when police and central intelligence agents show up with a memo for a trace. He said
If you are in Zim & are actively helping the people to exercise their constitutional rights to save lives & protect their livelihoods, stop using local numbers to set up your WhatsApp. Share the msg with Job Sikhala. Hopefully, some NGOs can help with this! #ZimbabweanLivesMatter
This comes when the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill which some say will empower the government to invade the privacy of citizens has passed through the public consultation stage.
In the recent past, a number of people were arrested for peddling falsehoods on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
Meanwhile, Tanzania has banned the use of social media platforms to plan, organise and or support protests in that country.-Pindula