Spying on citizens is criminal and the decision by Government to invest more than US$5million in Chinese manufactured equipment to spy on all electronic communication must be condemned by all citizens because it is a violation of citizens’ freedoms and liberties.
Apart from instilling fear in the citizen such equipment, according to Civil Rights campaigner Brebner Changala, was extravagant and a sheer waste of vital and scarce public resources. The Government is to spend money to import Chinese equipment and technicians to install communications equipment that will monitor all incoming and outgoing communication.
The money, he said, could be used to alleviate the deplorable sanitary conditions at the Evelyn Hone, as an example rather than on spying.
It was difficult to understand why the PF Government wanted to instill fear in the citizens when previous Governments and other Governments did not employ similar equipment when PF was in opposition.
Such investment, he said, did not add any value to national security apart from instilling fear in governed citizens.
“This is a crime against the Zambian people which should be condemned in the strongest possible terms because it is an apparent waste of resources which could be used to improve the lives of so many poor and dispossessed people who are languishing in poverty.” he said.
It was incredible, he said, that Government was now afraid of its own people and was prepared to invest in spying equipment, an act which more advanced countries had rejected because it infringed on people’s freedoms and rights.
It has been disclosed that 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.