To those who live in a bubble, today is not a normal Monday; there are a number of protests, in the form of demonstrations and stay away strikes, that are going on countrywide. One reason that seems to have urged people to start these protests is the recent hike in the price of fuel.
With these protests, some things that we love to talk about here at Techzim (seem to) have been affected such that they seem like they are not working properly. What has been or seem to have been affected by these protests?
A number of people (both off and on social media) are suspecting that the internet may be cut off by the government so as to put a stop to the spread of information. Incidentally, it seems like the internet is not working efficiently, or at least, it’s not working as it usually does. Several people in WhatsApp groups that Im a member are saying that their internet is sometimes not working and some are saying it seems they are being ‘throttled’ (intentionally slowing the internet).
I for one, am struggling to get on Twitter, my WhatsApp is taking very long to download a picture. A picture, not a video. I tried to download a 2-megabyte video and guess how many minutes it took me to download it? Somewhere between 10 to 12 minutes. On a normal, download that kind of video in a minute and a picture in less than 15 seconds. But sending and receiving WhatsApp texts is working almost normal.
Some unverified information by Newsday said that the government has ordered POTRAZ (telecommunications regulator) to shut down the internet. As I have just said, the internet is throttled or shut down when the government doesn’t want information to spread, lest may be inspired to join the cause of the protestors.
These kinds of protests occured on the black day of 31 August 2018, yet there was no internet shutting down or its throttling. Assuming the government hasn’t shut down or throttled the internet, I don’t know what’s unique about this protest that can prompt the government to tamper with the internet.
Banks and other businesses
One bank (I know of and that I don’t want to say its name) and other banks are not ‘open for business’ today since these protests started in the morning. My colleague went to a certain bank in Avondale and there were no bank employees to serve her. Apparently, they just didn’t show up and some walked out. So she walked away without having done her business at the bank. To make matters worse she went to a certain supermarket in the hope of buying some stuff using mobile money but the mobile money system was acting up.
Money Changers too
Even money changers don’t seem to be working today. My usually go-to moneychanger told me that he wasn’t ‘changing money’ today. He even went as far as to say he doesn’t know that rate of change of US dollars to bond notes/RTGS/EcoCash because many money changers are have stopped trading indefinitely.
This automatically brings commerce to a halt to some as people and companies are depended on the internet, banks, and moneychangers to do their business.