By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
As the Zimbabwean government frets with social media abuse, Information and Communication Technology minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, traded insults with former Finance minister, Tendai Biti, on Twitter on Tuesday.
Biti, a constitutional law expert and current leader of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had previously warned Mandiwanzira that government was in for a long legal haul over its intention to railroad a computer and cyber crime bill to curtail “terrorist abuse of social media”.
On Wednesday, communication between the two became emotional.
Biti accused Mandiwanzira of stealing $200,000 from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
“POTRAZ is heavily audited (and) that’s why we know Supa stole $200k from it,” said Biti.
This follows a recent audit on the government-controlled POTRAZ, but the ICT minister has denied any wrongdoing.
Mandiwanzira damned Biti, who he said had stolen $40 million from POTRAZ during his tenure as Finance minister during the 2009-2013 coalition government.
“Explain why as Finance minister you looted $40m from POTRAZ Telecomms Fund,” fumed Mandiwanzira.
Biti, however, warned that Mandiwanzira was defaming him.
“As a night school law student, be wary of the laws of defamation. You are not immune to those. Just a warning,” ranted Biti.
Mandiwanzira is ostensibly undergoing undergraduate law studies with the University of Zimbabwe, together with Jonathan Moyo, a political science associate professor and Higher and Tertiary Education minister, as well as Saviour Kasukuwere, the Local Government minister.
The ICT minister is fronting the adoption of the Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill as law that government wants to purportedly deal with “terrorism” related to online communication.
Under the law, security agents would arbitrarily seize individuals’ phones and computers to investigate suspected terrorism or banditry.
This follows a wave of popular protests against President Robert Mugabe’s government via social media platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp. Nehanda Radio