Cybercrime and Data Protection Developments in Zimbabwe

The Cyber Crime, Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill of 2019 was passed by Zimbabwean cabinet in October 2019. The Bill is currently being drafted for publication and approval by Parliament. The Bill is focussed on measures to combat cybercrime and improve cyber security governance promoting confidence and trust in the use of digital technologies.

Furthermore, the Bill provides for the implementation of data protection measures by data controllers handling personal information of Zimbabwean citizens.

The Bill was criticised with concerns from rights and democracy groups on the state’s powers of surveillance. Amongst the provisions, the Bill:

  • Sanctions the generation and distribution of “data concerning an identifiable person knowing it to be false and intending to cause psychological or economic” harm;

  • Sanctions the transmission of data messages inciting violence and damage to property; and  

  • Provides for the protection of citizens against cyber bullying and harassment.

According to a report in May 2019, more than $40 million has been lost to cyber-crime in Zimbabwe in the first four months of the year. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) statistics noted 4 001 counts of cyber-related crime were committed resulting in 1 132 convictions during the period.