Internet Switched Back On Again In Zimbabwe After A Total Blackout For The Second Time In A Week

Tinashe Nyahasha Avatar
Men staring at a phone, Zero-rate, techzim

The Zimbabwean story continues to be crazier at every turn. Around mid day on Tuesday the government ordered internet service providers to block all citizens from the internet. The nation was switched back on yesterday after 30 hours of darkness.

When we thought that it was all done, the government issued another directive at Nicodemus time last night around 10 pm instructing total shut down again. Zimbabwe woke up to no internet today and Econet subscribers had the following message in their SMS inbox:

At 22:05 17/01/19, we were served with another directive for total shutdown of the internet until further notice. Our lawyers advised we are required to comply with the directive pending the Courts decision on its legality. The earlier directives are already the subject of a pending High Court Application . We sincerely apologize for all inconvenience caused by the acts of government which are beyond our reasonable control.

This did not make sense at all. We were left bracing ourselves for at least a week without internet. Now some of the service providers have switched back on and we don’t know for how long!

Econet Boss Strive Masiyiwa, warned of the incoming disruption shortly before it happened

Clearly someone in government, most likely the minister of security thinks the internet is a cute toy that can be switched off and on willy nilly. Sadly this is not so. The internet has become an important tool for business and there are real losses that occur when there is no connectivity even for a minute.

My hope is that this will sink in and no matter what’s going on the government will learn not to touch that switch. This is no different from saying there are too many robbers coming from such and such a neighbourhood so let’s dig up the road from that place so we protect ourselves from them.

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