The Tanzanian government has instituted a social media ban for civil service workers in the country which will stop them from making use of social media and chat apps during working hours.
The directive which came via Transport and Communications ministry officials warned that “gossiping” on social media platforms would lead to the ultimate punishment of ‘dismissal’. Makame Mberewa addressing his department made the point that they should set the positive example to the rest of the civil service as the practice of social media usage at work was interfering with the real-time productivity of different sectors and the development of the country in general.
Tanzania which has seen a steady rise in cheaper phone data bundle plans is going deeper into the usage of platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter and as much as the government’s view on the need for the ban is easy to understand and to an extent comprehend, they have not yet drawn a clear picture as to how they hope to implement the proposed ban. It may be possible that the ministry is working with the belief that the instruction and threat of dismissal is serious enough to serve as a deterrent and stem the questionable ‘menace’ but seeing the trend of social media dominance in this time, that is a little hard to believe.
So the question remains as to how the ministry expects to police this ban and the claim that social media is affecting the country’s development is also pretty debatable and tenuous considering the fact that this platforms are only now gaining any type of grounds in the country. Whatever route the ministry does eventually take to enforce this ban, they might find it to not be an easy feat and not the expected cure to the country’s developmental problems.