IT IS treasonable to tap into ministers’ phone conversations and publish their conversations especially over Cabinet matters, because they are under oath and are not allowed to disclose such information to the public without Presidential authority, Zambia National Students Union (ZANASU) vice president Prince Ndoyi has said.
“If this phone-tapping is not stopped, soon we shall hear the President’s phone calls circulating on social media and what does that say about national safety and security of a nation?” he asked.
Mr Ndoyi condemned the eavesdropping circulating on social media where Information minister Chishimba Kambwili and Kitwe district commissioner Chanda Kabwe’s conversation was illegally tapped by unknown people.
He said phone tapping was illegal because it infringes on the rights of privacy of a citizen.
Mr Ndoyi said it was ‘‘horrifying and regrettable’’ that the investigative wings were not keen to do anything about phone tapping, adding that it was as though they were waiting for someone to go to the police and report.
“If this is allowed, tapping will be extended to our security officers and that will be a mess for matters of national security and stability,” he said.
Mr Ndoyi said from whichever angle the tapping was done whether by security wings or just by ordinary people, it must be stopped and those involved must be brought to book.
“This is wrong and what type of country are we living in, where one’s private conversation is not safe? There is no safety, even for business, banking transactions are now going mobile. The world is becoming mobile phone friendly for all sorts of transactions and yet we have no protection to counter such criminal offences,” Mr Ndoyi said.
He said the union was surprised that ZICTA said the institution did not have the capacity to counter phone tapping.
“Surely, we demand that ZICTA must issue a comprehensive statement on whether phone tapping is a reality and whether they are pursuing this matter to find the culprits involved.
“ZICTA must come out in the open and protect us the citizens from this criminal act, and must warn explicitly the mobile communication providers involved that people will soon demand for a fourth cellular network provider that is safer and addresses this criminality,” Mr Ndoyi said.
Mr Ndoyi said civil society must not allow people’s freedoms of privacy to be trampled upon by whoever wanted to target people for whatever reason.
“We must not allow our country to degenerate into a police state,” he said.