So last week the government decided to block the internet as a response to citizens protesting the state of the nation. On the surface, blocking the internet seems pretty illegal and the UN seems to think so too. In response to this seemingly unlawful act, MISA (Media Institute for Southern Africa) Zimbabwe along with the Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights made urgent court application challenging the use of the Interception of Communications Act to wholly suspend communications.
The application has been heard and the verdict is that the shutdown was illegally carried out. Media Institute for Southern Africa Zimbabwe just tweeted out the verdict:
The court has ruled that Minister of State does not have the authority to issue any directives. This means that the directives to shutdown the Internet are now reversed! The court did not rule on the constitutionality of the Interception of Communications Act today.
— MISAZimbabwe (@misazimbabwe) January 21, 2019
Just In: High Court rules that all internet & social media services be restored in the interim, as Min of State Security had no authority to issue the directive to shutdown services.
— C. Mambo 🇿🇼 (@cemambo) January 21, 2019
As indicated in the tweet above, this should mean social media getting restored because the order can only be given by the President. Contrary to the government’s belief, the shutting down of the internet hasn’t restored any order but has just prolonged confusion as people have been robbed of their communication tools and are now hesitant to go back to work as they aren’t sure what awaits.