Zimbabwe government websites are not accessible on the web right now. This could have been the case since yesterday afternoon. The problem seems to be the .gov.zw DNS.
The layman analogy to use is that the switchboard (DNS) to the respective extensions (government ministries websites etc) is not working. The websites themselves may or may not be working but you just can’t reach them because the guy who can connect you to them (DNS) is down.
But some sites are still reachable in Zimbabwe but not outside Zimbabwe
So some of the .gov.zw websites are still accessible when you visit them from Zimbabwe. A case in point is the Parliament of Zimbabwe website. However, these sites are not accessible from outside Zimbabwe. The reason could be that these sites are cached by local Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Usually such caching lasts for 24 hours so unless whatever went wrong with the DNS gets fixed, the few .gov.zw sites that are accessible to surfers in Zimbabwe right now will no longer be accessible by end of day.
What could have gone wrong?
We suspect that the data centre running the .gov.zw DNS is down. It’s like someone has taken out a whole section of the phonebook and no one else knows the numbers to call the government departments. As far as the web is concerned it’s as if the government websites don’t exist.
It could be server outage on their DNS servers or some connectivity issue that’s affecting them.
This is most likely due to negligence in monitoring critical systems by whoever is in charge here. That could be the better scenario actually because if it’s not negligence then it would be incompetence and that would be worse. To be fair though, sometimes random things just happen. I hope this is just some random thing or at least that lessons have been learnt.
The ZEC website is up
I know we are in an election season, heck we are less than 3 days away so the first thing most folks probably thought about when they saw the title to this article was Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Don’t worry, their site is still accessible because they don’t use the .gov.zw top level domain. Theirs is a .org.zw: zec.org.zw