Zimbabweans go offline after internet is blocked again

There have been violent protests in the country this week over world record high fuel hikes of 150%.

Mounted police patrol in Bulawayo on 16 January 2019, as shops and offices remain closed for business in the central business district following violent protests in the country triggered by a sharp, sudden rise in fuel prices. Picture: AFP

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s internet is completely off again after it was partially restored two days ago.

There have been violent protests in the country this week over world record high fuel hikes of 150%.

Several people have been killed and many more wounded.

Econet, Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile operator, sent a text message on Friday morning that it had been served with another threat to shut down the internet.

This means Zimbabweans can’t access broadband or any internet connection on their phones.

Internet was shut down on Tuesday and resorted later on Thursday. However, the government was still blocking WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.

This latest shut down of the web is likely in response to new calls for another stay away next week and for now, Zimbabweans have to rely on text messages.

At the same time, Zimbabwe’s Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa says that the government has crafted a new law to curb abuse of the internet.

Mutsvangwa says a new cyber bill has been approved by cabinet and will soon be tabled in parliament for adoption.

She said the proposed new law will ensure that the internet isn’t used to violate national security.

Her remarks, broadcast on state radio, will be seen as a new threat to internet freedoms.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)