Zambia is becoming a Police State – Chipimo

The Government has brought in Chinese contractors to install and implement a systematic spying programme that will ensure 100 percent monitoring of all internet activity in the country, and Narep President Elias Chipimo has warned that Zambia is slowly becoming a Police state.

The system being introduced is the same as the one the Canadian Government was forced to drop last week following massive protests by politicians, civil society and members of the public who complained of Government intrusion in their private lives. It is however the system that the Chinese Government uses effectively to monitor all traffic in the country.

Last month Roman Catholic Bishops raised issue with the introduction of sim card registration wondering to what end it would be used. Narep President Elias Chipimo has warned that Zambia is slowly but surely becoming a police state where there is growing erosion of all the gains of democracy Zambians fought so hard to re-introduce when they successfully brought down the one party state.

“ It seems those days are now looming and we must fight tooth and nail to ensure that they never return.” He said in an interview. Mr. Chipimo warned that Serious questions should be asked by every politician and every member of civil society.”

No ISP should be asked to do anything without full legal discussion and full public disclosure to all their clients of exactly what this means. This is a very serious development as there will be no secret the government will not be aware of if this is allowed to proceed.” He said.

Mr. Chipimo added “We understand that all ISPs have been visited by a team composed of representatives from ZICTA, Office of the President and the Chinese contractors who have been brought in to do the installation and implementation. All companies were asked to provide detailed diagrams of their networks, and the message from them was that the next visit would be the one to undertake the installation of the necessary equipment.

This would comprise a fibre splitter of some kind that means that all traffic to or from an ISP would be sent in duplicate to Government. This would therefore mean a total 100% monitoring of all Internet activity in the country.” He said.

The government agents, he said, claim that they have the right to do this under Section 65 of the Electronic Communications and Transmission Act of 2009 and there is apparently a Statutory Instrument No. 71 that they are relying on. These, however, he said, would have to be considered in the light of Article 11(d) under the Bill of Rights in the current republican constitution.

He warned that Although the monitoring of email was a complex thing to undertake since there were millions of Internet requests per hour, it would be possible to achieve since it is something they had done in China and by comparison, there was relatively small scale of Internet usage in Zambia.

“One can of course try and encrypt Internet traffic, but that is not something that the majority of Internet users will know how to do. We know that the team doing the surveys do not want this information to be made public and that ZICTA will decided when to make an announcement.” He said.