Arron Nyamayaro, H-Metro Reporter
Internet and social media have in recent times become favourite tools for promoting extremist ideologies as they are not constrained by any national borders, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Kazembe Kazembe said this in his keynote address officially opening the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organization (SARPCCO) Chiefs Virtual Meeting in the capital on Wednesday.
He said the increasingly sophisticated use of the internet and social media as propaganda tools for violence and extremism are indeed worrisome.
“It gives me great pleasure to join you at the Annual General Meeting of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation, which for the first time is being held through a virtual platform,” said Minister Kazembe.
“The Covid-19 pandemic which is impacting many countries across the world has necessitated such precautionary measures to be taken.
“As many of us grapple with this global pandemic, criminals are however taking advantage of the situation to perpetuate their illicit activities.
“Due to Covid-19, many people, companies and organisations across world are working from home and through the virtual space.
“The increase in e-commerce and electronic engagements have culminated in cyber criminals escalating illicit tactics, exploiting vulnerabilities of the citizenry due to increased online presence.
“As Police, we call upon you to heighten your vigilance and bring all criminal syndicates to book for proliferating online illicit financial activities, fake and counterfeit medical products, among a host of criminalities,” said Minister Kazembe.
He said the world continues to suffer immensely as a result of extremism and terrorism.
“The irreparable scars caused on society by extremism and terrorism demands that we put into action robust strategies aimed at countering the gruesome phenomenon.
“As a region, we are alive to the fact that no country is immune to the threat of terrorism, extremism and radical ideologies.
“As Police Chiefs, you have to tirelessly work together and learn from each other to ensure the region takes an effective approach in defending against common threats posed by terrorism and transnational organised crime.
“In the same breadth, transnational organised crime such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, money laundering, poaching, smuggling, among others continue to destabilize the social and economic standing as well as regional peace and security.
“There is no doubt that due to our limited technology and human capacity, criminal syndicates are exploiting these gaps to create havens for their illicit enterprises in the region,” said Minister Kazembe.
He thanked citizens for adhering to the safety measures put in place and urge them to continue doing so and paid tribute to frontline workers for the sacrifice and gallant work they continue to render in saving and protecting lives.
Minister Kazembe said acts of terror are constant reminders that the only way to effectively confront terrorism is to strengthen counter-terrorism and cooperation at all levels.