NetBlocks, an organisation dedicated to mapping and measuring internet connectivity globally in real-time, reports that internet service had been degraded in Zimbabwe on the eve of elections.
It was reported that the quality of internet access was degraded ahead on 22 August, on the eve of the general elections that will be held on 23 August 2023.
This statement was issued on their official X (formerly Twitter) page.
The throttling was reported on NetOne, Econet, TelOne and Liquid telecoms, potentially affecting millions of citizens who rely on the networks.
MISA Zimbabwe position
MISA Zimbabwe is concerned by the degradation of the internet network. The internet is a key platform for access to information, particularly during elections. MISA Zimbabwe calls on all the stakeholders to respect the freedom of expression and access to information, which are entrenched in the Zimbabwean Constitution under section 61. These rights are the cornerstone of any democracy. Throttling the internet is an affront to digital rights and democracy.
We, therefore, call for the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), to update the country on the causes of such downgrades and for the mobile network operators updated on such developments and measures being taken to address them.
The Government of Zimbabwe should assure all the stakeholders within and without the country of uninterrupted internet access and availability. In attending to the imperative need for internet access and availability all the times, the Government of Zimbabwe must do so, being guided by the constitution and regional and international best practises.