Zimbabwe’s three mobile operators faced a legal backlash for shutting down the internet in the country last week, following government orders to block access to popular social media websites.
Bloomberg reported Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and a media advocacy group filed an application to sue market leader Econet Wireless, NetOne and Telecel, along with Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa and two other government officials.
The lawsuit claims the internet shutdown caused a loss of business, income and threats to human life. For example, people were unable to access electronic bank deposits, which are used to pay public workers. This meant some people were unable to travel to and from work.
Econet reportedly sent a text message to its subscribers last week stating popular social media apps including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp had been blocked on government orders, describing the situation as “beyond our reasonable control”.
The government targeted the internet after 12 people were killed during a police crackdown designed to put a stop to nationwide protests against a 150 per cent price increase on fuel.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back