Did politics bring down Zambia’s internet?


By Michael Malakata

Consumers from Zambia’s Southern, Western and North-Western provinces have complained that as of Tuesday, they have been unable to access the internet – including social media services like WhatsApp, twitter and Facebook.

The Net is believed to have gone down soon after residents in these regions began protesting a decision by the Electoral Commission of Zambia to declare the incumbent Edgar Lungu as a newly elected President.

The people affected have accused the government of deliberately blocking the internet in order to curtail protests believed to have been coordinated through social media.

The main opposition, the United Party for National Development (UPND) constituency chairman Edical Siabana said, “Internet was cut soon after people started protesting the announcement of Lungu as winner of the elections and are convinced the government has blocked it.”

The UPND has disputed last week’s election results claiming it won the elections forcing people to protest. The three provinces overwhelmingly voted for UPND.

Local mobile service providers have to date not issued any explanation for the internet outages.

MTN Zambia communications and corporate social investment manager Mwamba Siame said she was not aware about the internet outage but would find out from the company’s technical team. “I’m not aware about it. There could have been something but not serious.”

Mwamba did not offer any further information.

Airtel Zambia has not responded to queries on the issue. However, a source at the company confirmed with ITWeb Africa that there has been internet outage in the said regions “for days now” and that the company has not explained the cause of the problem.
Source: itwebafrica.com