by NORMA TSOPO
COMMUNICATIONS controller Post and Telecommunications Regulator Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has dismissed a conspiracy theory linking the deployment of fifth generation (5G) wireless mobile phone technology and the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes as the theory has led to the vandalism of communication technology in other countries out of fear that the deployment of the latest technology was behind the global pandemic.
Potraz director general Gift Kallisto Machengete said in a statement there was no scientific or clinical evidence linking 5G technology to either Covid-19 or the spread of coronavirus which causes the disease.
“Potraz, as a science-based statutory body with responsibility over the safe and orderly rollout of telecommunication networks in Zimbabwe, would like to make it clear to the citizenry and at large, that the purported link between 5G and Covid-19is a falsehood, which has no scientific basis nor real evidence backing it,” he said.
Zimbabwe does not have 5G deployment but is already battling rising numbers of Covid-19 cases.
The Potraz boss said presence of Covid-19 cases in countries without the technology as well as few numbers in countries with the technology clearly proved the absence of any claimed links between the two.
“Even outside the scientific real, evidence abounds that many countries, Zimbabwe included, which are yet to rollout 5G are heavily afflicted by the pandemic, while some countries with 5G have very few, if any, confirmed cases,” Machengete said.
He warned that tempering with the country’s communication technology acting on the misinformation could land perpetrators in jail for a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years.
“We strongly remind members of the public that under Zimbabwean law, network vandalism or intentional damage to critical information infrastructure is a criminal offence which upon conviction, carries a minimum of ten years in jail,” Machengete said.
He said the infrastructure are currently even more crucial to keep the economy functional as people practice social distancing and work from home as well as possible access to urgent medical services.
“More than ever before, ICTs and connectivity are vitally crucial as people practice social distancing, work from home, need to keep in touch with relatives, friends and partners across the world, and may need to engage emergency services at any time,” he said.