BULAWAYO—Law enforcement agencies and judicial officials should be capacitated to
effectively deal with cyber bullying and online violence related offences, a human rights
expert has said.
Katswe Sistehood programmes manager Debra Mwase told New Ziana recently that
although the law was now in place to deal with offenders, there was need to capacitate
police and judiciary officers to enable them to gather enough evidence and effectively
Katswe Sisterhood is a local non-governmental organisation which does advocacy and
lobbying for women`s rights in the country.
The country enacted Cyber and Data Protection Act Chapter 12:07(No5 of 2021) prohibits
the collection, transfer and or broadcasting of intimate images and or videos without the
consent of persons concerned.
The law seeks to curb the humiliation and embarrassment of persons whose intimate
images and or videos would have been shared.
Before the enactment of the law, Kaswe Sisterhood ran a campaign called “Criminalising
Phonograph” which was meant to protect women who were mainly victims of cyber bullying
and online violence.
“We are happy that a law has been enacted but what we want now is the capacitation of the
law enforcement agencies and judiciary officers so that they will be able to gather evidence
and produce it before the courts for prosecution of offenders.
“We don’t want a situation where offenders will escape justice as a result of technicalities
and some loopholes in the investigation process. This warrants our officers to be effectively
capacitated in terms of knowledge and tools of the trade,” she said.
Mwase underscored the need to effectively raise awareness on the new law to communities
so that those offended can effectively use it for their protection.
“There is need by all stakeholders to raise awareness about this law to various communities
so that those offended can effectively use it to seek remedy. Raising awareness can also
help curb online violence and cyber bullying against girls and women,” she said.
Cyber bullying, Mwase said, impedes women`s full and equal participation in decision
making processes in the society.
To fight online violence against women, she said they are running a programme called Zivo,
Ulwazi, Knowledge to help women access information regarding issues of violence in their
Mwase said to date they had established knowledge hubs in Bulawayo, Harare and Bindura
in Mashonaland Central.
“The hubs will be located in communities and will enable women to access them as well as
produce information around what they are doing to end violence in their areas.
“Women and girls will also learn more about internet and this will increase their digital
literacy. This will help them to contribute to innovation and technology for gender equality,”
She said they have partnered Women Resource Centre and Network and Institute for Young
Women Development to successfully implement the project.
“The knowledge hubs will be equipped with information in both print and digital. Laptops
connected to high-speed internet will be provided and each hub will accommodate 10
women at a given time.
“Knowledge hubs will be containers converted into a library and office for librarians,” she
Mwase said their programme is in line with government economic blueprint, National
Development Strategy 1(NDS1) which considers ICTs as key enablers of economic
“Our programme is in line with NDS 1 which considers innovation and digitalisation as key
enablers of economic development. If we are to become a middle-class economy by 2030,
we need to have our footsteps in the digital world as we are going towards forth revolution.
“Access to ICTs and effective participation in the digital economy remains critical in
improving the quality of life for all the people of Zimbabwe,” she said.