The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are now eagerly waiting for the Presidential election results after last Sunday’s polls. However, the government has blocked access to the internet and SMS services in the country for the past 3 days.
According to the DRC President’s advisor, the reason why the country decided to switch off the internet is to avert possible tension and violence due to fictitious results that may spread on internet platforms. But the opposition who are claiming victory in the election is accusing the government of wanting to hide their win by blocking common forms of communications.
Defenders of democracy, that is western countries, have had their say in this matter by asking the DRC government to get the country back online. But the DRC authorities say that the majority parts of the country are gonna have to go without the internet till the 6th of January, 2019.
Not the first time hearing about this, right?
DRC is not the first the first country to tamper with its communication tools during elections, it’s following the footsteps of Cameroon, Mali etc.. A mixture of complete internet shutdowns and throttling were the kind of measures employed by these countries. Coupling these internet disruptions with growing proposals (by these kinds of governments) to want to regulate internet services through taxation, it’s only a matter of time till some countries incorporate legislation that allows them to switch off the internet at will. Uganda already has set the pace for other countries as it introduced social media tax last year.
With how the internet is slowly becoming integral in our lives (e.g internet businesses), these kinds of measures of shutting down the internet by despotic governments will soon have profound terrible effects.