The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday [Jul 06] blocked the Whatsapp service to its citizens as the country’s workers heeded calls for a stay away dubbed the” national shut down” to put pressure on the regime in power in the Southern African country for almost four decades.
By 07:00 am it was no longer possible to send or receive Whatsapp messages on any of the country’s mobile telecommunication networks, in a move subscribers blamed on the government, which in turn blamed the social network for spreading falsehoods and inciting people to protest.
Only those using Wi-Fi had access beyond 7 am but they too were shut out by mid-morning.
One of th best things that has impacted on democracy is Twitter it gives every person a voice#ShutDownZimbabwe2016 pic.twitter.com/jHaPYLRD1O— Regime Change Agenda (@maDube_) July 6, 2016
Minister for Information, Communication Technology and Courier Services, Supa Mandiwanzira, denied any government interference in the Whatsapp service, saying government had no reason to ban or block the use of the service because of a few individuals who abused the platform.
The youthful Minister said it could have been just a network problem as he was communicating on his Whatsapp with his colleagues. He alleged government was actually resisting demands by the mobile operators to ban the platform and others such as Viber and Skype which they felt were costing them lots of revenue.
“I as Minister and on behalf of the government have resisted these demands because we see their value to Zimbabweans. So there is no basis that I as Minister or government will work up to ban them when we are on the forefront of denying the request by operators,” he said. “We know there are elements, very few of them, who abuse the platform but they must not be allowed to spoil its very good use by the majority of citizens,” he said.
Zimbabweans are treated like insurgents in our country and not citizens in need of protection#ShutDownZimbabwe2016 pic.twitter.com/z3pFtChpqK— Regime Change Agenda (@maDube_) July 6, 2016
Just in case you are wondering what Godini terminus in Bulawayo is looking like.#ShutdownZimbabwe2016 pic.twitter.com/qDuXUxKr4I— Gotwe raMai Goto (@simply_tsitsi) July 6, 2016