The Statutory Instrument (SI) 33 of 2008 is an archaic executive order that sets additional regulations
and functions for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, setting out regulations for the coverage of
elections. The SI came into effect 15 years ago and proved to be an obsolete piece of law. \\

MISA Zimbabwe Way Forward Post-2023 Zimbabwe Elections

Repeal the SI and replace it with a more responsive framework in sync with technological and other
socio-economic and political developments shaping our societal evolution 15 years on.

The law has progressive provisions relating to specifications on the rights of data subjects
notification of security breaches and the responsibilities placed on data controllers to promote data
protection and privacy.
The other provision is on cyber-bullying and harassment. Such provisions are progressive as far as
women’s rights online are concerned. Several women, particularly female journalists and female
politicians in Zimbabwe, have been victims of cyber-bullying and harassment, which has greatly
affected the exercise of digital rights by women.
If implemented properly, this provision will be critical in ensuring that individuals respect the rights
of others to express themselves and access information online, particularly during election time.
Regrettably, the Cyber and Data Protection Act also has provisions to reverse these gains. One such
provision criminalises the transmission of data messages that incite violence or damage to property.
Another problematic provision relates to the transmission of false data messages. False news
offences promote self-censorship and unjustifiably infringe on freedom of expression, media
freedom, and citizens’ right to access information for informed choices and decisions.
This position is also supported by an existing constitutional court order which struck off criminal
At least four journalists have been arrested and charged for contravening Section 164C of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as amended through the Cyber and Data Protection Act.


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