This article argues that the Zimbabewean government’s development plans pose a threat to human rights, and that the media and civil society should hold the government to account. Ngwenya reflects on three developments which he believes are indicative of the future of data in Zimbabwe: the National Biometric Database, the National Data Centre, and hidden deals with China.
The National Biometric Database is the government's plan for a centralized database of citizens' physical characteristics, such as fingerprints. The National Data Centre is akin to a national identity register, however few details have been disclosed. Underpinning the above are multiple deals with China, as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. While these developments hold the potential to modernize Zimbabwe, there is currently a lack of transparency and attention from the media and civil society, leading to concerns about government surveillance.